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Black and White America

47 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 29, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

For his ninth album, Lenny Kravitz found much of his inspiration close to home. In fact, the very spirit of Black and White America came from the locations in which the music was made from a tiny, 400-person community in the Bahamas to the streets of Paris. And out of his experiences as a true citizen of the planet, his first new songs in three years became the most personal and diverse collection of his career. "No doubt, my environment definitely lends a lot to the creative process," he says.


Black and White America was written in reaction to a documentary Kravitz saw about racism in the post-Obama United States. Amidst the defiant lyrics, the songwriter references his own family history, and the experiences of his parents as an interracial couple in the 1960s. Though the sonic emphasis of Black and White America may land squarely on the funk, the force behind such guitar-driven smashes as "Fly Away" and "Are You Gonna Go My Way" hasn't turned his back on rock. Songs like "Rock Star City Life," and the first single, "Stand," give the album a healthy dose of crunching riffs.
The overwhelming emotion on Black and White America is the feel of optimism, faith and hope.


Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 29, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Roadrunner Records
  • ASIN: B0055EDBIE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,303 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Keith Cherry on September 7, 2011
Format: Audio CD
When I first heard 5, back in 9th grade, I hated it and had buyer's remorse. Then it grew on me and became an album that has defined a period of my life, a classic, an album that brings back memories and emotions that I felt back in high school. I felt the sameabout this new record. I had buyers remorse and was ready to hang it up, but then, guess what? It grew on me and more and more I started liking the new songs. You have to give Lenny's music a chance, he is very creative and we are not used to that in the USA. We like songs and artists who fit in boxes. Lenny can not fit in a box. The man is too big.

LENNY!!!!!
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27 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Constant Listener on August 30, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Dear Music Appreciator,

Here are three reasons to buy this music:

1. You don't mind a little message with your music - artists that imbue their music with explorations of racial, social, and political issues fascinate and challenge you and you would rather hear something with some brains behind it than the flavor of the week trying to burn some sickly catchy beat into your brain that you will love at first and later wish you'd never heard after the one hundred thousandth time you hear it. In other words, you don't waste your money on cotton candy at the fair.

2. You are the kind of person who really appreciates Marvin Gaye and James Brown. You are the kind of person who likes to get funky. You are the kind of person who dances around the room with headphones on, not earbuds, but headphones, real headphones, like shut out the world on the subway headphones that you can hear music really well in - you may have a room-dancing con headphones moment or two with this album - you might even buy this album on vinyl, I don't know.

3. You have the intelligence and the patience to realize that although you might be all excited and dancing with the first track of a new album and then get a little bored and maybe even fall asleep on the couch because it's too late at night, if you listen to some albums over and over again they will eventually come alive for you in a meaningful way and you will be glad you stuck with it. Some of the best music has to grown on you awhile before it sticks.

BLACK AND WHITE AMERICA will stick if you give it a chance.

Sincerely,

Constant Listener
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Manuel on October 23, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I'll keep this review short and to the point since others have gone into much further detail regarding Lenny's latest release. This is quite simply his best effort to date and most likely the one album that folks like myself who weren't all that much into him from the beginning won't mind having in their collections for good. 'Black and White America' is the sound of an artist who has greatly matured in terms of delivering songs that actually have something worthwhile to say and music that's very much on point and bears repeated listenings. Took him long enough to live up to the promise he showed back when he first came on the scene in the late '80s with his solo debut 'Let Love Rule', but he finally does so here. I only wish his previous label would've had him thoroughly scrap his largely misguided and lackluster 'Baptism' project in favor of this much superior and truly definitive piece of work when they had the chance to do so at the time. At the very least, it would've placed Lenny in FAR better standing with both fans and critics alike.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. F. Kennedy on September 8, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Wow, nothing beats new music from one of your favorite artist. Nothing except when it is a great release filled with an eclectic set of tunes with sharp lyrics, wonderful riffs, and more quality then you could have hoped for. For me this is exactly what happened with this purchase. Song after song, I couldn't help but love them. Whatever your doing (living on a beach in the middle of nowhere) it's working Lenny! This could quickly become my favorite album that you have ever release. I strongly recommend this to anyone who likes good rock and roll, this album is fantastic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By piano man on October 15, 2011
Format: Audio CD
This album by Lenny Kravitz is his strongest album to date. The album abounds with catchy melodies that have strong hooks. The album combines a rock and funk style with a variety of other influences that keep the listener engaged.

In case you are interested,there are at least 3 different versions of this album that I know of. The regular USA version, the import deluxe version, and the Target version. I have the 2 cd Target version which comes in a thick digi pack with a second disc containing 6 bonus tracks.

If you like James Brown,Jimmi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, Elvis Costello,Rick James, and Sean Paul, I believe you will like this album.I seem to hear all of these influences in this collection of first rate material.

This is one of the best albums to come out this year. It will appeal to music fans who like catchy melodies with a rock-funk edge, strong hooks, interesting lyrics.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By zlh67 on August 7, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I *AM* the Charlie Brown of Lenny Kravitz fans in that I keep buying his cd's, believing the hype and his claims in interviews that he has returned to form, back to the more "old school" stylings of his earlier albums, and I continue to have the football yanked from me before I'm anywhere close to kicking it as I buy cd after cd from Kravitz that are all VERY mediocre.

For my money, his '5' album was a sonic step forward and a collection of (mostly) solid songs, so even though it is very different from his first 4 albums, I had no problem with it and in fact have it as one of my favorites (along with "Are You Gonna Go My Way" and "Mama Said").

But the mainstream success of that album and even bigger success of the single he did for the Austin Powers soundtrack (his cover of the Guess Who's "American Woman") seemed to have sent the wrong message to Kravitz, that if he stuck to a more modern and pop-sounding direction, he'd sell more albums. And maybe he has, but nothing he's done since 1998 has been what I'd call a solid album (though some, like "Baptism", have their moments), and this is easily his worst.

For years, Kravitz has been panned for "oversimplistic" lyrics, a criticism I never agreed with, but one listen of the title track and I see what they mean. "Come On And Get It" is the blatant attempt at rock radio, but like past tracks such as "Dig In" and "Where Are We Running", this one leaves me cold. Radio needs a single, ok, I get it, but these types of tracks do nothing for me.

Throw in collaborations with Drake and Jay-Z and there's just not much here for us fans that liked Kravitz from the beginning.
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