Lenny Kravitz – Baptism: #339 of best 1,000 albums ever!

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

It occurs to me that one reason that I’m motivated to plow on with this here best 1,000 albums ever project is that I’m wired to constantly connect one thing with another thing, and usually one of them (or both!) is pop culture-related.

Baptism was released in 2004, during George W. Bush’s first term. It’s a great Lenny Kravitz album, which we’ll get to shortly, but I want to start with “Where Are We Runnin’?” which is easily a Top 5 Kravitz song for me.

Here’s where one thing connects to another thing: within the last hour of writing these words, I just happened to read a news article where some billionaire real estate guy made comments along the lines of:

  • People don’t work as hard when they work from home – and therefore everyone should “return to the office full time”
  • It’s “more profitable” for workers to work from home, because they can avoid commuting costs and have the privilege of “making lunch at home” while (bonus!) saving money on not having to buy “expensive clothes”
  • Finally, this guy saves his sympathy for the empty, neglected offices which, he laments, should be packed full of RTW (return to work) mandated employees

It was fascinating transitioning from reading those remarks – which I’ve seen corroborated by way of a bunch of Super Rich Dudes over the last few months – to then focus on the lyrics of “Where Are We Runnin’?” with its call outs about “chasing the money” and “always running here and there” and particularly:

Where are we running?
We need some time to clear our head
Where are we running?
Keep on working ’til we’re dead

I’m reminded too that on the occasions where I’m fortunate enough to get out of the U.S. and travel abroad, I’m struck by how other cultures perceive life and work in somewhat different ways than Americans tend to. And those differences in values and culture manifest themselves in different ways – from universal health care across much of the industrialized world to vacation policies that typically run from 4-6 weeks per years versus… uh, let’s say less in the United States (and that’s for those lucky enough to have salaried, full time jobs with benefits).

Musically, “Where Are We Runnin’?” is among my favorite Lenny Kravitz songs because it meshes a perfect hook, driving fuzzed up guitar, catchy chorus, and precision production and execution.

“Lady” is Lenny running his A Game in mid-tempo mode. The typically super hands on Kravitz produced the entirety of Baptism, and you can feel the throughline across its tracks in terms of the guitar sound and overall production.

I’m not typically drawn as much to Kravitz’ ballads versus his rockers, but there are some exceptional slower numbers on Baptism. “Destiny” is a gorgeous singer songwriter number featuring just Kravitz’ vocals (which sound simply incredible) and acoustic guitar. And the title track, “Baptism,” is a powerful and beautiful song that gets better every time I throw it on.

Some stats & info about Lenny Kravitz – Baptism

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Album Rock, Contemporary Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 1.5 out of 5 stars (?!)
  • When was Baptism released? 2004
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #339 out of 1,000

Lenny Kravitz’ Baptism on Spotify

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

Fast lane, high speed, on the grind, 24/7.

What’s the most interesting thing about Lenny Kravitz’ Baptism that most people don’t know?

As you can see from All Music’s rating above, Baptism is not a critically adored album, let us say (another Stephen Thomas Erlewine snark fest, shocker!). I hope that this best 1,000 albums ever entry will be a part of the album’s Resurrection Tour!

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.