Everyone once in a while you get a duet that’s so utterly perplexing that you have to hear it to believe it. Jimmy Paige and P-Diddy, Nick Cave and Kylie and erm…Chris Waddle and Glenn Hoddle. The newest addition to this confusing collab group is the odd pairing of Metallica and Lou Reed which, on the surface looks like 2 completely different sides of the musical stratosphere, but when you think about it they’ve got quite a lot in common with each other. Both Lou and Metallica have floundered in the latter part of their careers, making music that even their most ardent fans shied away from, despite the fact that they both made pretty stellar works in their early stages. Secondly, both come across to many as a bunch of miserable arseholes (especially Lars Ulrich and Lou) with very little positive to say at any point. This album has been hyped up (as seen below) as something pretty special, but when is that not the case?
Well, I don’t really know what to say. My original intention with this review was to do a track by track review, but after writing 500 words on the first 3 songs and venting more anger than I have in a long time, I gave up on that concept. Before I start this, let me just say that you get the sense from that Rolling Stone video and other interviews that both Lou Reed and Metallica really believe this album is great and that everyone should enjoy it and treasure it forever. The few songs I’d heard previously had left me…perplexed to say the least and the idea of venturing on the whole album wasn’t all that appealing. 5 tracks into my song-by-song review, I gave up and went back to something that made more sense to me.
Lulu starts with Brandenberg Bridge which features Lou Reed singing like an old man who’s lost his false teeth and is just crooning with his bare gums. He
sings says the line “I would cut my legs and tits off when I when I think of Boris Karloff and Kinski in the dark of the moon” which gives you an idea of the calibre of lyrics you can expect on this album. The highlight of this opening track and probably the whole album is James Hetfield doing his best “James Hetfield shouting” when he yells “SMALLTOWN GIRRRRRRRRRRL” for three minutes whilst Reed sings in the incoherent manner of…well Lou Reed in the 2000s. Perhaps the album picks up and that was the worst song on the album; maybe it’s all up from here. WRONG. IT’S NOT.
The second song is “The View” which features some lazy Metal music from a once great Metal band combined with Lou Reed saying words such as “And in a coffin your soul shaking, I want to have you doubting, Every meaning you’ve amassed, Like a fortune” and my immediate thoughts were “Jesus Christ, this guy was once in the Velvet Underground; he once sang Walk On the Wild Side. Now he just sounds like a vagrant drunk mumbling incoherently to squirrels”. Our Hetfield shouting session in this song features him bellowing “I AM THE TABLE” which if the lyric sites are correct, is supposed to be TABLET. At this point, had you received this as a gift from someone, your brave face would have deteriorated into confusion like it was a sick joke your friend was playing on you.
“Pumping Blood” is no better. In fact, it’s features Lou at his talking best, talking away about blood, swallowing a large cutter like a coloured man’s dick as well as waggling his ass like a dark prostitute. For Seven minutes.
And that’s where I gave up listening.
I am at a loss for words about this album. It’s hideous and I get the sense that it was maybe Metallica’s intention to make an album that no internet music fan would want to download. This is their punishment to all of us who download music illegally; you wanted this new Metallica album? Well it’s shit and we made it intentionally shit so you’d go out and buy Master of Puppets and Kill Em All to make up for your devious act of peer to peer file sharing. In fact, the more I think about it, the more likely it is that they’re trolling people with Lulu because I honest to god can’t believe there’s anyone in the world who would enjoy this near 90 minutes of shite. It’s not like Lou Reed hasn’t done something like this before, this is the man who gave the world the anti-record troll masterpiece that is Metal Machine Music; an album that very few people listened to, nevermind finished.
I’m sure there will be people out there claiming that this is avant-garde and these people would be wrong. This is not avant-garde, this is a steaming pile of shit that will hopefully have a backlash on both party’s careers.
My least favourite band of all time is Starship. They recorded an album called Knee Deep In Hoopla which had on that album what may be the musical equivalent of gonorrhoea; We Built this City on Rock and Roll (I hate that song more than anything that came before it and anything that came after it). Had I listened to the entirety of Lulu, I suspect it would have taken the honour of worst album I’ve ever listened to from Grace Slick and co quite comfortably.
My love affair with the music of Lou Reed originally lasted from the first time I heard The Velvet Underground and Nico up until the first side of Berlin which I gave up on, vowing to never return. My Metallica fandom lasted until I finally listened to St Anger when I decided that their albums post-Metallica weren’t worth the time of day. I recommend you do the same.
IN A BRIEF SENTENCE: Lulu sucks, listen to Master of Puppets or Transformer and avoid yourself the anger/confusion this rambling tripe offers.
A stream of this experience is here, I’ve warned you several times but if you’re going to go ahead and listen, there’s the free and legal way. I wouldn’t want anyone spending money on it.