Lenny Kravitz – Circus: #482 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Lenny Kravitz - Circus

So why is Lenny Kravitz’ Circus on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

This is the 519th “entry” in the best 1,000 albums ever project. Typically, when starting out to write a new one, I have a pretty solid idea of at least one or more standout songs that I’ll end up spotlighting.

With Lenny KravitzCircus, I initially assumed that it would be upbeat rockers such as “Rock And Roll Is Dead” and “Tunnel Vision.” But in revisiting the album and looking over my notes, I was really blown away by how remarkably consistent and good this album is end to end.

And this is where I get to veer into a sidenote about a reviewer at All Music that I’ve called out before, namely Stephen Thomas Erlewine. To be fair, he write well, and seems to be more learned about music than I’ll ever be. I’ve read a ton of Erlwine’s reviews, and even on the ones where he’s most enthusiastic about an album, he can’t help but damn with faint praise, if you can dig. In that sense, he gives “critics” a bad name.

In Erlewine’s short, two out of five stars review for Circus, he seems to base his rating on the following statement: “Circus is the weakest of Kravitz’s albums, simply because he didn’t change his style in a distinctive manner, replicating the sound of Are You Gonna Go My Way instead.”

I’m gonna go my way and strongly disagree.

Anyway, check out the gorgeous, soulful “In My Life Today.” If that’s not a change of style in a distinctive manner, I’m perfectly happy with extra doses of the same, thank you.

The title track, “Circus,” incorporates a wonderful tinge of Beatles-y late era psychedelia – with some nice Jimi Hendrix-homage work on guitar for good measure – and Lenny has never sounded better than on this one for my money.

“Magdalene” has a little bit of a country rock flair, reminding me that Kravitz’ experimentations on Circus pay off very nicely, thank you very much*.

* You’re welcome, Eric.

Some stats & info about Lenny Kravitz – Circus

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Album Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Contemporary Rock
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 2 out of 5 stars(!)
  • When was Circus released? 1995
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #482 out of 1,000

Lenny Kravitz’ Circus on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Lenny Kravitz’ Circus that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

I got that tunnel vision going through my head.

What’s something interesting thing about Lenny Kravitz’ Circus that most people don’t know?

Circus was recorded almost entirely in Lenny Kravitz’ studio, which he had built in a former NBC television control room in New York City. It was designed to replicate the warm, analog sound of classic rock recordings from the 1960s and 1970s, and Kravitz used vintage equipment to achieve this effect.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.