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Lou Reed & Metallica – Lulu (Son Of Kurtz)

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Lou Reed & Metallica - Lulu (Son Of Kurtz)

By Conan Neutron

Let’s be clear, I don’t intentionally listen to bad music. I believe life is way too short to waste time on something that you know is bad. “Hey, this tastes awful, check it out.” No, thank you. However, there was a certain level of curiosity that I had about this that could not be sated except for staring into the void itself. Yes, I am referring to Lulu, the collaboration between Lou Reed and Metallica. Unfortunately when you stare into an abyss, the abyss stares back at you, and the cold, vacant elitist stare of Lulu did indeed do that.

Shorthand review: This is the indulgent sound of the angst of millionaires.

And in the times of Wall Street being occupied and the very nature of music itself being overrun with purposeless, directionless claptrap. It’s doubly insulting.

I don’t know who this record is for. I truly don’t. I cannot imagine a single human being listening to this for pleasure. Anybody that’s hung with Lou Reed this long is most certainly immune to his absolute tiresome digressions with hints of the talent of years past. And I suppose any Metallica fan that’s stuck with them is willing to just see what the boys do as well. Yet together? The idea is to put together the shared fascination with death, degradation and the dark element of humanity and do something awesome together. I get that. But this falls far short of the mark.

However, it is not the musical war crime you might expect.

‘Brandenburg Gate’ kicks in like a heavy metal Jandek, or like Caustic Resin or something, but lacking the soul and purpose of either. I’ll be honest though, if not for the absolute incongruity of Lou’s wandering vocals and Hetfield’s impassioned “SMALL TOWN GUUUUUHRRRRAAAALL-AH!!” it might actually work. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t.

‘Iced Honey’ is Metallica doing their version of ‘Sweet Jane’ with Lou doing his thing. To be clear: I mean that as an insult.

It ends up sounding like 80s ‘Cold Meta’l-era Iggy Pop, but they could have gotten away with it if it was just Lou singing and not James with the distracting vocals again. It’s downright conventional compared to most of the rest of the record.

‘Cheat On Me’ COULD be good, compositionally it holds the most promise, especially with the slow burn start. However, again, when they both start singing. Ugh. Like a turd dropping on the coffee table, it is a sound you cannot forget. Why not alternate off/on vocals? Lou can get crazed with the feedback guitar with James doing his “HETFIELD-UH!” vocals, and then other songs Lou gets to sound like a street poet who wandered into a Metallica practice.

Or to quote user Flying Ninja on an Internet forum I frequent: “Fuck me if Lou Reed doesn’t sound just like Abe Simpson at times”.

(continues overleaf)

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5 Responses to Lou Reed & Metallica – Lulu (Son Of Kurtz)

  1. yaledelay October 23, 2011 at 7:48 am

    This is the worst record I have ever heard, I HATE IT. HATE IT. There is nothing good about it, it all sounds bad, the drums are all gated badly there are no songs its just riffs and parts nothing sounds good together.

  2. Niall Mc October 23, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Good article and thanks for the warning!

  3. Conan Neutron October 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I should add: That I didn’t even get into how absolutely wretched the lyrics are. My friend Roy from One True Dead Angel pointed out that I missed that entirely. Lou Reed can definitely turn a phrase, just look at the good stuff from the Velvet Underground or Magic and Loss. But theses are some HALL OF FAME level bad lyrics.

    “Spermless like a girl?”
    Really??

    Who knew that “I Am The Table!” would be one of the better phrases on this record. It truly proves that just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean that you SHOULD.

  4. Amy October 25, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Your criticism is all totally valid and makes perfect sense. Lulu is long and dreary and elitist and I don’t love Hetfield. But sometimes you find something at just the right time, and I think Lulu is great. The line “In the end it was an ordinary heart” from Pumping Blood just guts me, cheeseball as it may be with some distance and a few too many negative reviews behind me. I’m glad I listened to the album before I read about it, because no matter how the experience may change with the realization that no. one. else. in. the. world. liked this album, I’ll always have that first 95 minutes.

  5. Daniel October 27, 2011 at 2:59 am

    Conan, I had to hear it for myself. It felt like a number of long tracks where they were waiting for a song to occur. I dig a lot of Lou’s solo stuff (New York, maybe half of Magic and Loss, and even Set the Twilight Reeling) but I never got the inkling these lyrics were penned by a protégé of Delmore Schwartz.

    I went in expecting some piss and vinegar, but it sounds like oil and water. Editing these tracks into actual songs would take a Herculean effort in the vein of Ralph Rosenblum’s edit of Annie Hall. The audience may not forgive Lulu, but forgetting it shouldn’t be a problem.

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