Lou Reed & Metallica – Lulu (Son Of Kurtz)
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”.