Rating:
7.4
Metallica - Lulu [Collaboration]
31 October 2011


Disc I
01. Brandenburg Gate
02. The View
03. Pumping Blood
04. Mistress Dread
05. Iced Honey
06. Cheat On Me

Disc II
01. Frustration
02. Little Dog
03. Dragon
04. Junior Dad


The worst thing you can possibly do is treat this like a Metallica album. It is not. Lulu is a Lou Reed album that just so happens to feature the guys from Metallica as his backing band. Of course, Metallica still had to go and put their name on it, which recklessly raised people's expectations, and the heavy criticism weighed at this album is largely true no matter how you spin it. Nonetheless, while this was a disappointment, it is not totally devoid of merit, and more of an interesting experiment than a Son-of-St. Anger-sized failure.

Despite what you might think after hearing the endless jokes about Lou Reed's senile mumbling, his voice actually suits the music very well. It is James Hetfield's singing that is the problem; when he comes in, he breaks the trance-like atmosphere that Lou Reed's mesmerizingly off-kilter, off-beat, and out-of-tune ravings create, making the complex theatricality of the lyrics seem embarrassingly pretentious. Frankly, he does a worse job of singing than Reed, whose voice perfectly mirrors the confused and disjointed sound of the music. Fortunately, Hetfield's vocal parts are few and far between. I have neither understanding of nor patience for the hoity-toity literary concepts Lulu is supposed to embody, and I find it hard to believe that anyone in the world cares, but understanding is not essential to the listening experience.

Unfortunately, the album commences on a low note, with Metallica bulldozing through an otherwise lovely Lou Reed rock'n'roll song with all the subtlety and proper intonation of a high school grindcore band. Once "Brandenburg Gate" passes, though, the band falls much more into sync behind Reed. There are some moments throughout of actual thrash, and while they are nothing particularly extraordinary or innovative, they are welcome. "The View" does, in fact, possess a pretty cool riff. Get past the idiotic bits about tables and it becomes a real song, and a legitimately good one at that. Much of this album is instrumental, with simple, repetitive riffs sometimes accompanied by feedback or other atonal noise effects. An atmosphere of despondent desolation and spacey depression grips songs like "Dragon," "Mistress Dread," and "Pumping Blood," which are the album's standout tracks.

This album could have been better. Metallica's sound does not gel perfectly with Lou Reed's, and James and Lars sound like they are trying far too hard to be the centerpiece instead of Reed, the true creative director. I'm not the biggest Lou Reed fan in the world, but I have listened to enough of his music to recognize how much this album truly belongs to him, and that has helped me appreciate it a lot more. Maybe this was not the best collaboration in the world, but it was hardly the worst, and the end result is pretty enjoyable if you have patience.

Yeah, yeah, James Hetfield is still the table. It isn't that bad.

Performance: 6
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Production: 6


Band profile: Metallica
Album: Lulu [Collaboration]


 


written by ScreamingSteelUS | 17.08.2013


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Staff review by
Daniell

Rating:
2.0
Some people righteously claim that this is not a real Metallica release and thus it can't be viewed as such. I agree. Metallica decided to co-operate with Lou Reed in his interpretation of Alban Berg's opera based on Frank Wedekind's plays "Erdgeist" and "Die Büchse der Pandora". The history behind that opera is as complicated and dramatic as one can imagine, assuming what a dark story it tells.

Read more ››
published 04.11.2011 | Comments (164)

Guest review by
AndMetalForAll

Rating:
4.3
Lulu brings back Metallica in a collaboration album with Lou Reed. A German visionary named Frank Wedekind wrote a collection of plays about a woman called Lulu who was both a muse and a mystery, the first form of woman. Most of the songs have death, sexuality, love and spite themes. Although it's not a Metallica album, the expectation was off the charts but the result is terrible.

Read more ››
published 14.11.2011 | Comments (18)



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BloodJuNkie - 17.08.2013 at 19:27  
Dude .. worst album ever .. enough said!
Alex Fenger - 17.08.2013 at 19:32  
I agree with the first statement. This is, in fact, a Lou Reed album, and a fucking terrible one at that. I can appreciate, and enjoy some of Lou's other work, but this is still abysmal in quality. Good review, I just mostly disagree
Unhealer - 17.08.2013 at 20:44  
The review feels quite harsh for the score you gave it. And while I agree that it's a good album, I seem disagree a lot on why it is.
Like, I don't know how you find Mistress Dread to be a standout, it's one of the worst songs I've ever heard While Brandenburg is one of my favourites.
Hex_Omega - 18.08.2013 at 10:42  
Oh come on... 7.4?
In my opinion this is NOT the worst album ever, but... seriously... Some riffs are not bad but songwriting is terrible and Lou vocals... St.Anger also has some good moments but generally it's a bad album.
Delamortia - 18.08.2013 at 13:55  
Written by Hex_Omega on 18.08.2013 at 10:42

Oh come on... 7.4?
In my opinion this is NOT the worst album ever, but... seriously... Some riffs are not bad but songwriting is terrible and Lou vocals... St.Anger also has some good moments but generally it's a bad album.

Dear Hex, I wholeheartedly agree, as I almost choked as seeing a 7.4. I did try to consume the album without the slightest luck.
Northern Danger - 18.08.2013 at 16:02  
Originality 8!?
BitterCOld - 18.08.2013 at 22:12  
Omg your opinion on this album differs from mine! OUTRAGE!!!11!!one!!11uno!
Daniell - 19.08.2013 at 15:13  
It takes enormous skill to find enough good things in this album that would warrant such a rating. I'm not sure whether you did find those things, or you just wanted to cause controversy among the huge group of this album's haters. Whatever rocks your boat I guess.
ScreamingSteelUS - 19.08.2013 at 21:33  
Written by Daniell on 19.08.2013 at 15:13

It takes enormous skill to find enough good things in this album that would warrant such a rating. I'm not sure whether you did find those things, or you just wanted to cause controversy among the huge group of this album's haters. Whatever rocks your boat I guess.

I did legitimately enjoy this album. If I wanted to cause controversy, I would have given it a 9 or something (although I suppose rating it higher than a 3 is cause for controversy here). It is not without its problems, but it is possible to appreciate it.
Supernaut - 15.10.2013 at 15:02  
Thanks, evidently heading for the cheapie bins where I'll pick it up as I have some interest in Lou Reed (Transformer indeed the best, Bowie in evidence, else check out the debut which sounds more like Dylan), although the first two Velvet Underground albums were by far the best ones, and that was more because of Nico and, after she left, John Cale.

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