Review Summary: The type of album Tommy Wiseau would love as a Christmas gift and possibly make a movie out of (but let's hope it doesn't come to that!).
This collaboration between Lou Reed and Metallica holds the reputation of being one of the worst albums released in the year 2011, though, you’re all probably well aware of that by now. Now I’ve heard this album when it first started streaming back in October this year and I’ve often heard of the phrase ‘so bad it made me want to puke’, but after listening to just two tracks I was amazed that such a thing was even possible. I’m sure a lot of you felt the same way and there probably isn’t even a reason for another review on this album to be posted up but this album has haunted me so much that I just have to get it off my chest.
The first track of the album entitled “Brandenburg Gate” opens up with a fairly decent acoustic guitar lick which actually gave me some hopes for this album almost immediately. And then I heard Lou Reed sing out “I would cut my legs and tits off when I think of Boris Karloff and Kinski in the dark of the moon” and this immediately had me laughing like a little girl and asking where the real singing was. Then of course James Hetfield starts shouting out “Small town girl!” in the cheesiest, Westlife sounding manner and that’s what put the nail in the coffin for me so soon. I knew I was doomed because I’m a firm believer in not judging an album until you’ve heard it in its entirety but I never realized just how patient I am.
By the time the second track and the album’s lead single “The View” starts playing the album has already become stagnant. You’d think that Metallica would at least be instrumentally sound but everything they do just becomes clichéd beyond belief and it’s not helped by Lou Reed’s droning vocals. I was literally questioning whether or not he was suffering from Alzheimer’s from the way that he keeps repeating the same ridiculous lyric over and over again during a bridge, breakdown or chorus, like Pumping Blood’s “If I waggle my ass like a dog prostitute” or even Frustration’s “To be dry and spermless like a girl”. Good lord, man!
The entire album literally feels like your grandfather is dragging on a simple joke for eighty minutes, boring the hell out of you, and making you feel screwed over because he never actually delivered the punch line. It sounds like it too from what you can guess from above! Metallica sound even more generic then they did back in their Load and Reload era, the drums sound just as busy as in St. Anger and the production of the sound quality sounds just as over compressed as Death Magnetic. As though that didn’t make any sense, Lou Reed (being a man about to enter his seventies) sings about the character Lulu in the first person point of view rather than the third. That last fact alone gives ample reason to ridicule the album without even listening to it and you wouldn’t even be blamed for it.
Even his so-called noise rock experimentations leaves a lot to be answered about his concept of structure or any sense of progression what so ever. The tracks aren’t long in a good way like Dream Theater, in the sense that you barely feel the ten minutes passing, it’s just literally dragged on needlessly. The album is two discs long and feels even longer then it plays out because of the sheer repetition that leaves you wondering when it’s going to end. I thought I was nearing the end of Iced Honey’s six minute length until the timer told me it wasn’t even two minutes that passed. There’s nothing about the absurdly long tracks that has any sense of progression or build-up that would otherwise keep the album fresh in some way. Again, Metallica hammer everything down in the most generic and stagnant way and Reed’s weird experiments don’t add much or compliment anything at all. Like on the track Junior Dad which has this really long and drawn out viola sound which I think is supposed to give some kind of eerie tension to it but it just made me think that my stereo was stuck in a loop. Then when I checked, not only did I realize that the stereo was fine but the album was finally over! Thank God for that.
From what I can gather from the band’s approach (or whatever was going through their heads when they wrote this) they were going for something avant garde and bizarre for artistic purposes. I even recall reading an interview where Reed said that the album is for the ‘literate’, in other words, required complex taste to understand. I also recall Pablo Gregaletto, the bassist from Trivium, stating that if you think you understand this album then you’ve got to be on drugs, a statement that I agree with (like many others would) because there’s nothing to get. It’s simply a jumbled and incomprehensible mess that plays out worse then it reads. Even the whole avant garde thing is pretentious at best. I’d rather listen to Angel Dust by Faith No More.
Now, I just have to stress out that it is an impossible task to describe how awful this album is. It’s the type of thing you just have to see for yourself to understand it, and even then it isn’t worth the time and effort, like when I was saying that the album made me feel like vomiting, I wasn’t joking. I never realized that it was actually possible! The vocals are appalling, the lyrics are laughable, the instrumentals are tedious on every level and the whole thing just leaves so many question marks over your head it’s hard to keep track of all of them. I mean, is this album actually great or is it just simply a really bad joke? I really don’t know how to answer that but what I am sure of is that Lulu proves Lou Reed’s irrelevance to the music industry today, I should have given up on Metallica years ago and I’ve been proven wrong when I said that nothing could possibly be worse than We Rule the Night by Sonic Syndicate, and even then that’s kind of stretching a mile.
Avoid like the plague, you’re better off not having this abomination on your memory.