Film Schooled - Lenny Kravitz: "Again"
From writing all of his music and playing every instrument heard on his albums to appearing as the gentle Cinna in The Hunger Games franchise, Lenny Kravitz’s work is the full embodiment of the American Icon. He only person to win the Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance three times in a row from ‘99 to ‘01 for “Fly Away”, “American Woman”, and his rock ballad, “Again”. This feat becomes more impressive by the fact that “Again” carried his unique sound, but the tone he felt, was a lot different from the pieces to be on his sixth studio album and it only appeared on a Greatest Hits album through Virgin Records. The release of a music video for “Again” put images to the heartfelt song and only further solidified Kravitz in rock culture.
Kravitz’s Again music video was directed by Paul Hunter who has worked with other big names such as Aaliyah, Dr. Dre, TLC, Justin Timberlake and so many more. Although Hunter’s directorial debut Bulletproof Monk(2003) did not receive much commercial or critical success, Hunter collaboration with Kravitz is pristine as they capture him in his natural element on the urban streets. The non-linear story-telling and cutting back and forth to the images and lustful desires that dance in his head. IF there was ever a time where a reality being shown collided with a stream of consciousness, this is it.
The simple narrative of this video is a rock artist who has lost connection with his girlfriend who then becomes infatuated with cafe server. His girlfriend is played by the always lovely Gina Gershon, who went to high school with Kravitz before starring in films such as Pretty in Pink(1986) Cocktail(1988). She can now portrays Gladys Jones in the TV series Riverdale. The waitress is played Teresa Lourenco who modeled at the time for big brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Dior, and Victoria’s secret. At the beginning of the video Kravitz is shown in bed laughing at cartoons eating breakfast. The quick cuts keep the action going as he’s now appearing to be coming back from a trip with his girlfriend, seemingly miserable. There’s physical distance between them as he stands by the window. She closes this, embracing him from behind but he frees himself and walks away. Most viewers might miss it but the images and story on screen go along with the lyrics. Just as the next scene starts, LK sings “I’ll wonder if I will ever see you again”, a flashback in the cafe where he first meets the waitress he now longs for.
The rest of the video plays out as such, LK living out his life and career while still thinking about the girl. The most creative part of the video is when LK is onstage at the infamous Limelight Cafe in New York City before it’s initial closing later that year. While Kravitz is up on stage performing, the light cast onto him is that of a warm yellow. He’s in his element, happy with what he’s doing. The cut scenes where it seems he’s pushing through the crowd after he’s done performing, however, have a washed out grey tone to them, alluding to the lack of personal space and the “hands on” experiences with crowds. Later on while LK is at a table surrounded by beautiful women there’s a red hue over them. He seems disinterested and far away as the women are only there because of this fame not because of a real connection they share. This is proved with the images in his head of soft tones of him and the waitress wrestling on white sheets. The video ends with LK going back to the cafe to find the waitress and she’s not there. Just as he’s leaving the front door she comes in the back. Even fame can’t make every opportunity blossom to fruition.
While not related to the story, it’s important to note how Kravitz’s persona is put on full display in this video. He seems like a regular guy but is a highly accessorized man with multiple piercings in both ears and his nose along with a good amount of jewelry. He also allowed shots of his naked body in this video. He’s comfortable with himself and he’s comfortable expressing himself freely, and this has made him wanted by women and a sex icon. He’s progressed and defied what traditional masculinity is defined as, and it continues to be shapen, now in 2019 from this video’s release in 2017.
Another take away from the video is simply that everyone, fame or not enjoys eating a bowl of cereal while watching cartoons.