Release Date: Nov 1, 2011
Record label: Warner Bros.
Genre(s): Avant-Garde, Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Art Rock
When Lou Reed and Metallica walked the wild side together at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame anniversary concert in 2009, it seemed like a one-off jam session. But two years later, they've joined forces for a collaboration that's less ridiculous than you might expect. Metallica are prog-metal maximists at heart, but on Lulu, they meet Reed halfway, often favoring the high-decibel droning the Velvet Underground learned from avant-minimalist composers: repetition, atonal overtones, traffic-jam audio vérité.
The internet almost broke under the weight of WTFs and ROFLs when this unlikely collaboration was first announced. It brings together rock’s most curmudgeonly men under one studio roof; one assumes [a]Van Morrison[/a] was invited but told them all to feck off. So what do Laughing Lou and thrash metal’s mightiest band have in common? Therapy. Reed, who endured electroconvulsive shock treatment to vanquish his gayness at the behest of his parents, doesn’t talk about it.
First and foremost, Lulu is a Lou Reed album. Metallica may receive collaborative billing, and Reed has made canny use of the band's skill set, but it's clear after the first ten minutes that he is the auteur on this project, and most Metallica fans are going to be awfully puzzled by Lulu. Then again, Reed's fans may be scratching their heads, too -- Lulu is a purposefully difficult album, one that insists you meet it on its own terms, and the angry flood of sounds and ideas that pours from its ten long songs demands more than a little patience.
On Sept. 18, a 90-second preview of “The View” appeared on YouTube. Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Whoopi Goldberg were, fortunately, not involved, but the reaction was just as negative. This was the first taste of the curious collaboration between legendary New York boho Lou Reed and Bay Area thrash pioneers Metallica, but it was not a triumphant unveiling.
“Loutallica,” “Reedtallica,” “Metallica Machine Music…” the jabs have been plentiful. With Berlin and Metal Machine Music, Lou Reed is no stranger to critical dismay and its inevitable venom, the pen wielding malcontents and Velvets-loyalists mightier though subject to hindsight, which has generously applied a dab of white-out when required. Metallica had been slowly re-Entering pre-Sandman territory, 2003’s St.
Based on the work of early 20th-century expressionist playwright Frank Wedekind, Lulu features some of Lou Reed's more "challenging" lyrics set to Metallica's misfiring metal. It's not a successful union: the songs are too close to aimless, unfinished jams, Reed sounds as if he's trying too hard to be controversial (his opening line is "I would cut my legs and tits off when I think of Boris Karloff") and at 95 minutes it's far too long. It all comes together just once, on "Dragon", the band locking into a monolithic riff that recalls the end of their own "Orion", but there's precious little else to recommend about this unlikely project.
An album of songs based on the taboo-busting fin-de-siecle plays of Frank Wedekind that opens with a lyric in which the female protagonist offers to "cut my legs and tits off" clearly isn't intended to be a barrel of laughs. Even so, it's impossible to over-emphasise just how gruelling the hour-and-a-half you spend in the company of Lou Reed and Metallica is. That's partly because the lyrics are harrowing, and furthermore sung from a female viewpoint: this means that, at one juncture, you're confronted by the sound of Reed – and there's no polite way to put this – begging to be fisted, an image you fear will still be with you on your deathbed.
Review Summary: Shite Light/Shite HeatMetallica have made an admirable effort in alienating their huge fan base since the release of 1996’s Load. In the interim, people have sighed and groaned through Reload (nothing more than a glorified b-sides album to some), the fun but hey-we’ve-still-got-it feel of Garage, Inc., the faux-classical mores of S&M and last but…well, yes, least of all, the under-cooked insanity that was St. Anger.
The good news: This clash of the ornery titans, inspired by a bleak German theater piece about a doomed dancer-turned-prostitute, isn’t nearly as alienating as Reed’s 1975 noise experiment Metal Machine Music. The other news: Even though headbangers can still toss up their devil horns to the buzz-saw crank of ”Mistress Dread,” the bulk of Lulu sounds like your dad’s drunk friend reciting his self-penned erotica over a melting ReLoad cassette. D Download These:Hyperactive Mistress DreadSmoldering Brandenburg Gate .
Depending on how you frame the historical narrative, Lou Reed (along with John Cale and the other members of The Velvet Underground) might just be the man responsible for all of indie rock as we know it. His work with VU inspired such key tastemakers as David Bowie and Brian Eno and helped set the stage for the emergence of punk. As a solo artist, Reed continued to push boundaries (Metal Machine Music, anyone?) and created a template for New York’s poet junkie songsmiths of the 1970s.
When Metallica announced last June that they had recorded a new album with Lou Reed, fans of both artists responded with confusion, if not outright despair. But while this partnership may seem random, the two actually have a lot in common. Both abuse electric guitars; both like to wear black and be photographed by Anton Corbijn; both have indulged in lifestyles that threatened to become death-styles; both have a habit of alienating their fans by taking ill-advised stylistic detours and, by extension, both are considered by many to be class-A assholes.
Just when you thought Metallica might gain some ground on their way back from being hated by almost everyone you know, they come out with what may be the most disappointing album in a decade. With the release of Lulu, a collaboration between Lou Reed and Metallica (or, as the media has dubbed them, Loutallica), they not only built up the excitement of the world for what could have been a phenomenal record, but they let us down harder than the last episode of Seinfeld. Except far fewer people will forgive Metallica.
Lulu is a complete failure on every tangible and intangible level of its existence. From conception to collaboration, production to execution, album art to lyrics, music to almost every part of the album-making process– including the nefarious masked villain who Inception-ed this idea into Lou Reed’s hapless cerebral cortex while he slept– it’s a failure. For most of us, however, this is not the big reveal of Lulu.
Lou Reed and Metallica unite in compelling and contrary union. Ian Winwood 2011 In many ways Metallica have for a long time been not one, but two bands. In the summer months they are the world’s premiere full-blooded rock act, content to bask at such locations as Yankee Stadium in the legacy afforded them by albums such as Master of Puppets and songs like Enter Sandman.
Lou Reed and MetallicaLulu(Warner Bros.)Rating: How you engage with the Lou Reed/Metallica collaboration, Lulu , may depend on how much of the backstory you know. If you come to it blind, it might seem like strange, macabre fun, starting with the first rhyme of “Brandenburg Gate,” “I would cut my legs and tits off/When I think of Boris Karloff and Kinski/In the dark of the moon.” If you listen to the music and don’t follow the words too closely, you might feel like what you’re hearing is Reed free associating a storyline about betrayal, sex, and death. And you’ll hear how his words feed off of Metallica’s energy, and how Metallica feeds off of Reed’s playful sense of darkness.
Lulu is the confounding collaboration between Lou Reed, once an innovative and progressive musician who expanded the parameters of rock music, and Metallica, once an innovative and progressive band that expanded the parameters of heavy metal. Over the years, both have made albums that fall far short of their best work and have been criticized for being pompous about their art. However, Lulu sinks to almost unimaginable lows.
Lou Reed. Metallica. Sex. Violence. Depravity. “Lulu’’ had inspired ingredients for a great record. Alas, this collaboration between Reed and Metallica is a disappointing mess. The godfather of avant-rock and the popular metal band don’t click on any level. Metallica is not an art band, and ….