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Metallica - Metallica & Lou Reed: Lulu CD (album) cover




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2.08 | 219 ratings

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3 stars Well, despite the "mixed" reaction (and that's being quite generous) that this album has received, I actually think it's quite interesting, and dare I say, pretty darn good. When I first found out about this album, my first reaction was "what?" and I think a fair amount of people probably had similar reactions. I mean, Lou Reed and Metallica? It's hard to believe the two had even ever come into contact with each other, let alone recorded a collaborative album. Nonetheless, here it is, and after some listens to it I can honestly say it's one of the most interesting albums I've heard this year.

The first thing that sticks out about this album is the music. While much of it is rather "typical" Metallica riffing, the music here is much, much more dynamic and interesting than anything else I've heard from Metallica (Little Dog and Junior Dad are probably the best examples of this). I frankly have trouble getting through even "Ride The Lightning" or "Master of Puppets" without getting bored, but there's something entrancing about this music. Even when riffs repeat throughout a song there's enough ambience to keep it interesting. Add some orchestral touches (again, Junior Dad stands out on this account) and you've got some almost post-rock-ish textures on some of these tracks. It's fascinating. The music is credited to "Lou Reed and Metallica," and I don't know what the actual amount of input on the music was from each of them, but I'll give Metallica the benefit of the doubt and call this a definite step up for them musically. I'm actually kind of curious to go listen to some of their more recent work and see if there's anything like this on those albums.

But of course let's not forget our lead vocalist. Lou Reed's vocals will no doubt put some people off, as he uses a sort of half-sung, half spoken-word delivery that's not exactly conventional, especially for the style of music he's singing against. Astonishingly, it works. His off-kilter poetry meshes very well with the music going on behind him, only enhancing the often hypnotic effect of this album. Though this is an 87-minute double album, I never found myself getting bored, and much of this has to do with the verbal portraits Lou Reed paints. His lyrics here are often disturbing, unsettling or even nonsensical, but certainly never uninteresting.

Of course, there are missteps. There are times when the lyrics cross the fine threshold between interesting and goofy; Pumping Blood is the worst offender here. Hearing Lou Reed say "waggle my ass like a dark prostitute" loses me just a little bit, and that's far from the only example.

So overall, though Metacritic might call this album the worst of the year, I found it fascinating. Rarely a dull moment, and even when Reed's lyrics go too far the music is always interesting. This is an album that pulled me in throughout its duration, and that I'm sure I'll be listening to even more in the future. It's certainly not for everyone, but I would strongly encourage all fans of progressive music to give this at least one listen. Say what you will about this unlikely collaboration, but quite frankly I'd rather listen to "Junior Dad" than anything from Master of Puppets. Not a perfect album, but certainly a fascinating one.


VanVanVan | 3/5 |


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