So the fact that Kravitz begins his seventh album by declaring himself the "Minister of Rock 'n' Roll," in full scream and without a trace of irony, is a good sign, and it's confirmed by the remainder of the album, his best collection in a decade. He's a virtual one-man band again (like Prince, it's his most effective lineup), looting AOR playlists for a mashup of boogie riffs and Beatles-style majesty, while making Baptism sound as fresh and new as its title implies. Ironically, between the piledriving choruses and Bic-flicking balladry lies a newly intriguing introspection; the conflicted messages of "What Did I Do With My Life" and the query, "Could a wife and some children be better than being in a band?" make this a surprisingly searching set. But it isn't so much a baptism as an affirmation of faith, which Kravitz ultimately places in the power of classic rock. On this album, at least, that belief isn't misplaced.
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