Kids today have this image of Lenny Kravitz being this glamorous figure, a make up artist who makes Jennifer Lawrence look pretty in The Hunger Games. His role as Cinna is pretty good, but for me I still remember a different Lenny. This was a neo-funk be-dreadlocked Lenny who crooned and rocked his way through the 90’s.
#53 “It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over” by Lenny Kravitz. Released in 1991 on his second album “Mama Said”, this track is Lenny’s highest charting hit, reaching the #2 spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. While another famous 90’s crooner blocked his way to the top spot, I find this track to be more memorable.
Featuring the horn line from Earth, Wind & Fire (no Oxford comma?), the Phenix Horns, this song hearkens back to the classic sounds of the Soul genre. After much New Wave and electronic music from the 80’s, and with Hair Metal and House Music still dominating the music scene, “It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over” is a striking change to the prevailing tastes of the day, and obviously a satisfying one.
The video reminds me of those vintage live performances on Soul Train. Lenny is decked out in his Motown-esque attire. Seeing the section of strings whipping away with their bows really brings the song’s string arrangement alive in its sweeping, nostalgic glory. It’s a simple video, no cuts to black and white, just straight forward lipsynching and faux instrument-playing.
Lenny Kravitz continued to have several other hits, including “Are You Gonna Go My Way” from 1993, a hard-rocking electric guitar experience that has few rivals in its time. Even in decades beyond he’s remained a consistent figure in the music scene, even if he isn’t an overpowering superstar. Instead, he burns his creative flame steadily and consistently.
Like a Prince of the 90’s, Lenny ventured down many musical genres in his career, but unlike Prince, he’s never seemed to get too full of himself and burn out like a flash in the pan. Whatever else he may credit to his success, his eclecticism is also what makes him consistent, and this song is a hallmark of the timelessness his music embodies.