366 Songs 038: Let Love Rule

I know that admitting to a liking for Lenny Kravitz these days – or, for that matter, any point since he first appeared on the music scene, some 20-odd years ago – isn’t something that the hep kids in the audience are likely to do anytime soon, and I can see why: He’s really been a shameless purveyor of regurgitating sounds and songs that he grew up on without any particular spin or change, and nobody likes a copycat unless they’re called Oasis (and even then…). And yet, “Let Love Rule” has always been a song that I’ve adored, for many reasons.

In terms of a debut – unless I’m misremembering, this was his first single, released before the album of the same name – this is a pretty great one; not only does it happily set Kravitz up as the Prince For The Daisy Age that he so clearly wanted to be (Remember the Daisy Age? Oh, those were the days), but it’s just a lovely and more than a little catchy song – There’s a demo version that was released on an anniversary version of the album, and it shows off the strength of the song in basic, bare-boned form. But, oh, the arrangement on the final version! The way that it builds in the first two minutes, adding new players and instruments slowly until it’s just there, this weird powerhouse of retro psychedelia that’s crept up on you, before taking more than a minute in the middle (2:18 to 3:20; the single version of the song cuts at least 30 seconds of that, sadly) to temporarily turn into the theme from Saturday Night Live, is something that’s downright charming, at the very least. But even without that interlude, just the horns and organ would be enough to win me over entirely, especially in the long, long outlerlude as the groove continues long after the song proper has finished.

It’s possible that “Let Love Rule” was as good as Kravitz ever got; certainly, everything that came afterwards didn’t feel as fresh, even if it felt more deliberate and forceful. I want this Lenny Kravitz back, please.

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