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www.therockpit.net Lou-Reed-Metallica-Lulu-CD-Oct-2011

LOU REED with METALLICA
Lulu
2011

 

 

By Shane Pinnegar

 

Whilst it is important to remember that this is a Lou Reed and NOT a Metallica album, it is equally important for all of us – even the Lou Reed’s of this world – to remember that shit is still shit, no matter how you dress it up.

 

On first listen, one could take Metallica’s nadir “St Anger”, strip away what little tunefulness and song structure that album had then get Granpa Simpson to half talk, half warble tunelessly over the top, spouting what sounds like stream of conscious bad un-poetry, add several bottles of vodka and then record the first run throughs, and maybe you will have something similar to this disaster.

 

After a couple more listens, I managed to dig deep and find a couple of redeeming features, but it still has me bewildered how anyone in Reed’s camp or Metallica’s thought that releasing this mess would benefit either’s career. I can understand why the record label put it out though – both Reed and Metallica have legions of die-hard fans who will buy it to be completists, or as a curio - but the truth is that “Lulu” sucks.

 

I totally understand that Reed isn’t a musician so much as an “artist” – and I totally accept any accusations that I may not “get” this work, this statement, this piece of art, or whatever it is. I don’t. It’s just a mess.

 

‘The View’ – a snippet of which was released on the internet in recent weeks to near complete horror – is actually not as completely bad as that leaked snippet suggested. Towards the end Metallica take their stride and even with James Hetfield screaming “I am the table” repeatedly (perhaps it's an IKEA thing?), they get a groove working. Likewise, the latter half of ‘Pumping Blood’ sounds slightly more cohesive than the rest – but these examples are like needles in a haystack, such is their minor contribution to the whole.

 

‘Mistress Dread’ attempts to create a thrash metal-Velvet Underground hybrid, and ‘Iced Honey’ touches on Reed’s late 70’s work – but both still sound like rough demos with scratch vocals. Being a big fish in a small pond isn’t anything special when the pond is this small, though, which is a shame because with a firm guiding hand both of these songs could be worked into something pretty decent.

 

The last four tracks are all pretty long – and I mean looooooooooooong. ‘Frustration’ is eight or so minutes of Reed acting the heroin addled beat poet. “Spermless and dry like a girl”, apparently. Ironically, Metallica chime in with the best riff they’ve written in years in the last couple of minutes – something that could easily have sat on any of the first 5 Sabbath albums. I’d love to hear more of that. Now THAT’s frustration!

 

‘Little Dog’ is very mellow – barely any drums, just Kirk Hammet’s guitar feeding back cleverly, and Lou even holds the vocals together for the most part, but it’s not much of a song, and the 11 minutes of ‘Dragon’ is about 9 ½ minutes too long - and the less said about 20 minute bore-fest closer 'Junior Dad', the better.

 

I have no idea what exactly the point of "Lulu" is, but ugh… thank F*CK it’s over.