Back when I was still living in Baltimore, my best friend, Jason and I were sitting on the couch doing what we did best; slack off. The television was on, but it was watching us more than we were watching it.
Now, Jason and I click on all cylinders. We’ve got that annoying “friend speak”, where we can communicate with a shorthand that’s known only so us so we can mock you to your face and you won’t even know it. We’re both writers (although he gets paid for it) and our tastes run nearly identical.
On the day in question, we were probably supposed to be doing some collaborating on writing, but were most likely theorizing on the evidence of Cultural Lag, as witnessed by the content of Southern Hip Hop. The point is; my roommate was playing a CD while we talked.
My roommate is perhaps the peppiest person in the world. She’s the personification of perk. Her musical taste runs more toward Radio, with occasional forays into 120 Minutes. I think that her personal soundtrack is 2/3’s No Doubt and 1/3 Counting Crows.
Which makes her listening to Damien Rice’s O such an odd selection. That album is so depressing that it brought two best friends, at the peak of their comedic form, to the verge of suicide. It totally brought us down. That album is your worst personal tragedy, coupled with your worst break-up, times finding out that Santa Claus isn’t real, in the form of a compact disc.
Now I love a good depressing disc. Ryan Adam’s slower stuff is some of my favorite of his material. I’m a huge Fiona Apple fan, and her disposition could hardly be called “sunny.”
But having Damien Rice’s O provide the background music to a chill afternoon with my best friend is one of my least favorite memories of our times together. And that’s including the time he shagged the girl I was trying to talk to.
I’m kidding, Jason wouldn’t shag a girl I was interested in.
Anyway we ragged her about her taste in music. I think she was just giving it a shot because it was supposed to be “cool”, but she actually recognized a song when it was used in a commercial for Closer, so I guess she actually dug the album.
Why I don’t dig Lenny Kravitz
I can remember digging Lenny Kravitz. Well, actually I can remember hating on Lenny Kravtiz. After all, Lisa Bonet was a hot star, and he was married to her. So as much as I kind of enjoyed his initial musical offerings, he was hooking up with a girl that my foolishly young mind thought I could possibly have a chance with, if we somehow met, despite our age difference.
I guess it’d be accurate to say that I enjoyed his music, but didn’t like the idea of him as a romantic interest for Lisa Bonet. But his music was cool. I couldn’t fully get a handle on his “rockier” compositions, nor his style of dress, but the dude’s ballads really hit their mark, at least for Kid Mathan.
When Are You Gonna Go My Way (or as I annoyingly sing every time it comes on “Are You Gonna Acceptmeasyourlordandsavior”) came out it’s video got heavy rotation on MTV. And for good reason the video was cool. Lenny was rocking and the video was dope. Plus it was cool to see a dude with dreds on MTV. By that point Lenny had my respect for being a Black guy who wasn’t crooning or rhyming.
But years later something happened to chance my mind on Lenny once and for all; I went to college.
Everyone has their horror stories about roommates in college, and I’ve even got my share, this doesn’t happen to be one.
The thing about roommates is that it’s a “give and take” situation. You learn from them, and they learn from you. He taught me how to cook some simple dishes to impress the ladies, and I inspired him to write.
He also inadvertently taught me to loathe Lenny Kravitz.
It’s my personal theory that there are finite quantities of everything; gold, diamonds, paper and speed. I never run to catch a bus, because I know that one day I’m going to need all of my speed to outrun a giant rabid dog, or a small barking one. Another thing that there is a limited quantity of is love.
Y’see my roommate at the time loved Lenny Kravitz. He was one of the three musical touchstones my roommate had. Now I have my musical favorites that I’ll defend to the end, but I don’t really consider myself a fanatic. This guy was a Lenny fanatic.
When Lenny’s album 5 dropped, it was in heavy rotation in the crib. I can distinctly remember having to sit through the video for Black Velveteen, that’s how much my man loved Lenny.
I accepted it. It was cool. We even went to a Lenny concert. It was a dope event. It was like no other concert I’ve been to. The closest thing to it was the Prince concert we also attended. All walks of life, all races, everyone just there for a good time. It was quite the experience.
Of course eventually I O’D on Lenny. I got tired of him. My roommate played him too much. I was sick of the guy, Lenny, not my friend. I realized that my friend was beyond help when he purchased the reissue of 5 and kept the original.
What really turned me off of Lenny was when he cut his dreds. Sure on Behind The Music, (which I’ve seen way too many times, trust me) Lenny claimed that it was time to cut them. But I can’t help but notice that he’s become much more successful without the dreds than he was with them. All of a sudden Lenny is not only “in” but “sexy” too.
I can’t blame him for wanting success, but such an overt act of “selling out”, be it conscious or subconscious really tarnished him in my eyes.
Some of y’all may think that I’m making too big a deal about it, but think about how many of Lenny’s videos you’ve seen with Lenny sporting dreds. Now think about how many of his singles got video play with him sans dreds. And there is no denying that he’s now deemed “sexy” when while he had dreds he was just “weird.”
Another nail in the coffin was his tepid cover of American Woman. I like the original. And I’m not a fan of covers. But Lenny’s version is like a great example of the worst thing about covers and the worst aspects of Lenny. The video is like a clichÃƒÂ© “Lenny” video, complete with his “rock star” poses and camera mugging. The song itself, doesn’t try anything bold, but it does inspire fond thoughts of the original. Wait did I say “of the original?” I meant “for the original.”
From the point on to me Lenny became a joke. He was a prime example of a guy who sold out for success. And he lost whatever remaining respect I had for him when he conked his hair out. Now he’s a guy who appeals to the most common denominator, and even *gasp* red states! The guy is a clown. I see an extended stay in Las Vegas in his future.
But Thinking of You is still a touching track.
Well it’s time for bed. But y’all should read this stuff;
(damn, Puter is acting funny, no individual links)
Jeff Blames Lil Jon, and announces his vacation plans.
Gordi, Gloomchen, and Tom are all much more worthy of your attention and time than what you just read by me.
I shouldn’t have to force you to read Cam, after all you voted him as the Staffer of Year, for the second year running.
The InsidePulse Staff also voice their opinions on what was great about 2004.
Five Hip Hop Albums That Were Better Than To The 5 Boroughs That Also Feature “The”
1. Mos Def – The New Danger
2. De La Soul – The Grind Date
3. Ghostface – The Pretty Toney Album
4. Talib Kweli – The Beautiful Struggle
5. Kanye West – The College Dropout