lenny kravitz hasnt done much for me in a while but for some reason after watching andrew sullivan and christopher hitchens on tim russert i saw kravitz on unplugged do his latest single "i'll be waiting" and it really moved me.
i have a feeling i was touched by it because i could finally actually hear it.
if you watch and listen to the album version, its so bloated and overproduced and radio friendly that it doesnt sound the least bit special or the least bit sincere
sure the strings during the climax are 70s and somewhat uplifting but its entirely forced and predictable and contrived. yes its symbolic of the romantic message of the song which is one day after the love interest recovers from her malaise and realizes that the hero is indeed the one she should be with violins and horns will provide the triumphant crescendo of their reunion, but how many millions of times have we heard that before?
added to that symbolism is kravitz alone in the studio, playing all the instruments alone, singing alone, until the breakthrough happens when he brings in the troops - is cheesy at best. lenny kravitz is one of the coolest rock stars alive - off stage. if he were to walk past you youd know instantly that hes a powerfully spiritual and talented star. the real deal. but his records are some of the most predictable pablum out there.
thats all changed when he steps back, lets the flat piano get replaced by subtle guitar, and allows his band to actually be a band, as in this appearance on Unplugged:
that bleating piano is gone, replaced with a warm guitar and organ. kravitz just sits there and sings the damn thing. and that fucker can sing. and what you get is a real rock song. you get depth. you can feel the soul. you can hear an actual ensemble.
im the one who really loves you baby for some reason sounds entirely different.
and how good is that saxophone? big man, assist me please.
and this is the reason why live music is what its all about, if you ask me. and why selling music and recording music to be sold is far different than playing music that youve written.