"I haven't been outside in days," says Lenny Kravitz while lounging in a basement studio at New York's Hotel Edison. "I've been here eighteen hours a day."
Kravitz has finished mixing Baptism (due May 18th), his seventh album and first since 2001's Lenny, which proved a singularly personal effort: He wrote the songs while crashing at a buddy's New York apartment, then played all the instruments and produced the entire album while staying at the Edison.
"Duke Ellington recorded here, and we took this place over because it was the last classic room in New York," he says. "I kept it really focused -- just guitar, bass and drums, plus keyboard and strings on a couple of songs."
Among the standout tracks are the guitar-heavy "I Don't Want to Be a Star," which mentions both struggles with loneliness and partying with Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger, and the first single, "Minister of Rock n' Roll," a psychedelic, Moog-driven stomper with big-rock swagger. "Retired" rapper Jay-Z also lends his voice to "Storm."
Baptism track list:
Minister of Rock 'N Roll
I Don't Want to Be a Star
Calling All Angels
Where Are We Runnin'?
What Did I Do With My Life?
The Other Side