Picks and Pans Review: 5
After originally titling his new CD Black Velveteen, Kravitz, whose tendency to imitate has led to past criticism, apparently thought better of using the name of an imitation fabric for this collection of highly derivative funk-rock. Son of the late Roxie Roker of TV's The Jeffersons, Kravitz grew up in 90210 country, attending Beverly Hills High with classmate Saul Hudson (Slash of Guns N' Roses). Originally known as a rock-and-roller wannabe who was married to TV actress Lisa Bonet of The Cosby Show (their marriage dissolved in 1991 after five years and one daughter), he first gained musical notice with 1989's Let Love Rule, an album dense with '60s vibes and echoes of Jimi Hendrix, Curtis Mayfield and others. On subsequent albums, observers noted, he sang like Elvis Costello, looked like Prince and sounded like just about every funk-rocker not named Kravitz. Although he can be more than a mere imitator, unfortunately this CD again seems to mimic the music of others, including Sly Stone and Rick James. Which raises one question: Why buy 5 if you can still hear the originals?
Bottom Line: Been there, heard that