Poor Lenny Kravitz has been a critics' punching-bag since day one: From his Prince and Sly Stone appropriations to his dopey, cliché-driven lyrics, he's made himself an awfully easy target. But he's also cranked out some enjoyable material in his day, though most of it falls into the guilty-pleasure category: His 1989 debut, Let Love Rule, was mostly strong, and its successors each have a few terrific songs amidst laughable schmaltz like Mama Said's "Flowers For Zöe" and Are You Gonna Go My Way?'s gag-inducing "Black Girl." Kravitz's fifth album—appropriately enough, it's titled 5—has a few exhilarating fragments scattered throughout its 66 minutes. But those moments are too infrequent to be easily extracted from Kravitz's bald-faced Prince imitations ("Supersoulfighter") and staggeringly dopey couplets (from "Fly Away": "I wish that I could fly / into the sky / so very high / just like a dragonfly"). That's saying nothing of the doofy posturing attempted on "Straight Cold Player," or the "Flowers For Zöe" sequel "Little Girl's Eyes," or Kravitz's attempts to incorporate a dash of electronica into otherwise-decent songs like "Black Velveteen" and "If You Can't Say No." Kravitz's most forgiving fans will appreciate the diversity and sheer volume of 5; everyone else should give it a pass.

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