Lou Reed and Metallica
Lulu


4.0
excellent

Review

by lostforwords USER (37 Reviews)
October 25th, 2011 | 27 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist


Mainly because it was simply impossible to imagine Lou Reed’s voice over Metallica’s gigantic riffing, the news that the aforementioned Heavy Metal titans had agreed to collaborate with the rock poet of the damned, raised a lot of questions, especially among Metallica’s fans, who have little actual knowledge of Lou Reed and his accomplishments. Both parties’ roads never seemed to have crossed and most importantly, there was no obvious way to accurately predict how this collaboration would sound.

“Lulu” is meant to divide and alienate, especially Metallica’s audience. To all metal fans who have learned that “Operation Mindcrime”, “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” or even “Tommy” is the best way to approach a concept album, this is a very tricky record, and they are not to blame. Lou Reed’s perception of this concept record is a minimalistic one, the music being just a little more than a background, however loud or complex it might be. Metallica have tried to retain their identity; as a result the thrash or Sabbath-like riffing is always present. At the same time they are determined not to spoil “Lulu” s’ nature, as seen through Reed’s eyes, so they tend to create a metal-friendly soundtrack that gets repetitive on purpose during each track, behind Lou’s narration. In the end, the result is more than puzzling to those who have grown with Metallica’s epic song structures or to those who are not accustomed to Lou singing over monstrous riffs.

“Lulu” however is a very different kind of monster. It’s definitely not your run of the mill rock/metal album. It is not just Metallica with Lou Reed on vocals. It is another dark tale (originally a play),and Reed’s approach to this reminds us clearly what made him a respectable figure among rock, punk and gothic audiences, even during the days of Velvet Underground. Almost a theatrical piece, a tragic story of a girl named Lulu, a story that has little room for bright lights and hopes. The whole project has been designed by Lou himself, whose prose expresses quite successfully the darkness in the hearts and minds of everyone involved in the plot of Lulu.

What is Metallica’s part in this? During the first songs of “Lulu” they seem to understand only a little better than their average fan what this record should sound like. In general, they get the idea that they should be the ship on which Lou would sail, but songs like “The View” and “Pumping Blood”, although they don’t represent the typical Metallica song structure, still include numerous riffs (“the View” also includes a solo), repetitive ones, so that they can serve their purpose as described earlier. James Hetfield, whose voice helps make the direction of the record a more musical/straight-forward one, doesn’t even avoid some notes that are off key, probably because he didn’t spend too much time recording vocals, in an act of spontaneity that is not standard Metallica (they haven’t done anything that isn’t perfectly calculated, even records like St Anger have a clear plan). His vocals give songs such as “Iced Honey” and “Brandenburg Gates” a punchier sound, and give us a hint that they may have had fun during the recordings indeed. Eventually, the band gets swollen in Lou’s greater vision and becomes the sonic pallet for which Lou is so proud as to declare that this collaboration is the best thing he ever did. Who could have thought a better series of punishing riffs for a song named “Frustration” during which the hero feels less man than the girl he hates as much as he wants to marry? When the record presents the protagonists’ anger, you couldn’t imagine a better way of anything backing Lou up than “Mistress Dread” s’ thrash holocaust or “Pumping Blood” s’ mean riffing. And when towards the end the heroes drown in sadness and confusion, Metallica set a scene of desperation in the minimalistic “Little Dog” and the angst-driven “Dragon”. Finally, “Junior Dad” is “Lulu” s cathartic track and as such, it is actually one of the best songs both Metallica and Lou Reed have put their names on, with Metallica’s sweet melodies caressing softly the arrangements of a string quartet.

Everyone has executed the plan well; Lou Reed has offered a vision for the five of them, a story and the basic guideline for the musical direction of the collaboration; only a few of Metallica’s riffs or melodies are not perfect, don’t serve the plot and do not honor their name. And “Lulu” is a record whose creators share an artistic vision which often exceeds, if not their own limits, then surely their fan base’s imagination.



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user ratings (946)
Chart.
1.4
very poor
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
lostforwords
October 25th 2011


446 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hope you will like the review more than the album

Pharoh
October 25th 2011


3325 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

Album is garbage.

Jesuslaves
October 25th 2011


4658 Comments


no

Muse1748
October 25th 2011


160 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Still waiting til Nov. 1st to buy this album (yes, I will be purchasing the album, along with the new Megadeth), so this review is a welcome surprise. Also, it's very well written. Have a pos sir

letsgofishing
October 25th 2011


909 Comments


Nice to see a well presented alternative opinion. take a POS.

In the mean time, I'm going to continue buying every copy I see, so I can gather them all up and burn them. It's kind of
like I'm saving lives, except a little more important.

Kris.
October 25th 2011


12511 Comments


nope

MO
October 25th 2011


19077 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

"The whole project has been designed by Lou himself, whose prose expresses quite successfully the darkness in the hearts and minds of everyone involved in the plot of Lulu."

This is why I'm not laying too much blame on Metallica's part.

zxlkho
October 25th 2011


3472 Comments


nope.avi

Quickdrop
October 25th 2011


78 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Pretty decent review, teribad album.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2011


6339 Comments


It's good to see you back to reviewing mate.

good review, pos, although some of its basic meanings are being repeated throughout its body.

idk whether i should bother with this record.

Digging: Madred - Supersonic Brainfuck Overdrive

xfearbefore
October 25th 2011


1246 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yes.

Great review. Pos'd. Agree completely with almost everything you've said here, but I would of gone with a 3-3.5 instead of a 4. It's definitely nowhere even close to as bad as most people think it is, it's just distinctly different and avant-garde. And it's completely a Lou Reed record, anyone listening to this expecting to hear thrash metal is just dumb.

Digging: The Smoking Popes - Get Fired

zaruyache
October 26th 2011


7417 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Decent review, although you danced around the fact that this is terrible :]

Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

toxin.
October 26th 2011


12804 Comments


good review, pos'd
love to see opposite viewpoints although 1 reviews are hilarious

Scoot
October 26th 2011


17914 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

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Digging: Renounced - The Melancholy We Ache

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
October 26th 2011


50960 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Junior Dad is the best worst song title ever

Digging: Friendzone - Collection 1

Ikarus14
October 26th 2011


557 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

No. Just no.

patrickfannon
October 26th 2011


886 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

...Yes?

zaruyache
October 27th 2011


7417 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Nah.

KyokushinMaster
October 27th 2011


182 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Great Review, it's more a 3.5-3 for me but i agree with pretty much everything you said! Nice job pos
from me. this is my 100th comment yay : )

Ikarus14
October 28th 2011


557 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

I still have trouble even accepting that this album even exists. =_=;;



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