Gary Flockhart: Lenny and Prince, tale of 2 albums

Lenny Kravitz Pic: Comp

Lenny Kravitz Pic: Comp

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THERE was a time when Lenny Kravitz could do no wrong. The year was 1991, and the dreadlocked, feather boa-ed rock star was the man of the moment.

He’d just followed up his impressive 60s-sounding debut album, Let Love Rule, with hit-packed 70s-inspired sophomore effort, Mama Said, and folk couldn’t get enough of him.

Lenny, though, only had one more mega-selling album with 1993’s Are You Gonna Go My Way before the backlash began.

Critics labelled him as a retro rip-off merchant and his star faded pretty fast.

It was a pity, because while he does pay homage to his musical heroes, the guy is a ridiculously talented musician in his own right, which I saw first-hand at Wembley Arena in 91, when he was joined on stage for a duet of the Stones’ No Expectations by Mick Jagger.

Lenny has continued to make music, but he’s never again reached those heady heights.

Now, after turns designing shoes and acting in The Hunger Games, the 50-year-old has returned to music with the release of his 10th studio album, Strut.

Sad to say, but it’s largely disappointing. The album has its moments, but it’s too slick by half and, like a lot of his records, it seriously runs out of steam four or five tracks in.

Pity, because I really wanted to like it.

Another artist back in the limelight this week is Prince, with not one but two new albums to mark his return to Warner Bros after a near 20-year-long dispute.

Now, it would be stretching it to say either Art Official Age or PlectrumElectrum are on a par with anything he released during his 80s and 90s purple patch, but the latter album, in particular, is the best thing he’s put out in years.

Granted, what both albums lack is a killer single to take the airwaves by storm, but fans will be satisfied.