Plus: En Vogue, Inspiral Carpets, and Therapy?
I really enjoyed reading this Lenny/Vanessa revisit. I don’t remember her at all, which I’m surprised about as I was a big LK fan from the start. It feels slightly serendipitous as I just wrote a piece about World Party and Karl Wallinger often being lumped into a “retro” bucket, but not critically lambasted like Lenny Kravitz. There may have been some sour-grapes/jealousy/racism beneath the harsh reviews LK received -- his good looks, his impeccable fashions, always a gorgeous woman on his arm -- but it was also true that lyrically, he peddled in cliches and recycled ideas. Most everyone else on the pop charts did too, like you mention, so that seems a cherry-picked argument against him. He maintained a huge following for decades (still does in fact) so I’m not sure his timing was necessary off in terms of audience and reach, just his perception by the (mostly white and male) music-critics of the day. I’m going to have to listen to that Vanessa album, pronto! Excellent piece!
Interesting insights and observations as always.
My memories from the early 90's regarding how we looked upon the 70's vs the 80's is a bit contrary to yours, probably because of the music I liked the most back then. I was heavy into the Acid Jazz scene and Talkin' Loud artists like Galliano, Omar and Young Disciples. The 70's was the Golden Standard for a lot of the things I listened to - just look at the predominance of samples from 70's music in hiphop during that same time period. A lot of these things seemed, at least to me, as a reaction to the "sterile" sounds of the 80's.
As a consequence, I didn't really appreciate a lot of 80's music until later in my life.