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



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The Truth
Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars People can't honestly believe that this album deserves one star simply because it's unusual. If anything, this gets more than one just for Metallica and Lou Reed for being ballsy enough to release this.

Basically, from the reviews I've read (which by the way, 82% 1 star ratings without any reviews is a great example of not even being able to say what's wrong with it. There's nothing wrong with it, people just aren't willing to listen for longer than 20 seconds) people find the spoken word with those Metallica riffs too much to take. If anything, Lou adds significance to those riffs that would otherwise be used for some cheesy and metal lyrics and instead he makes the words with them seem worth hearing. Spoken word tends to add emotion into the music if the listener hears what's being said.

All in all, the orchestral arrangements that go with the album really add to the theatrical effect Lou and Metallica were trying to accomplish and make this obscure gem that many are going to throw away as "self-indulgent crap" a truly artistic contribution that will lie buried, few knowing it's true power.

In my opinion, it's worth getting because the music truly is good and it would really go to show all those people who are ceaselessly dissing it.

EDIT: I guess it's only necessary to make this a five star review because it really saddens me to see it at a 2.01 average rating. This record is way better than that, sure it's rough first listen but how many of your favorite records did you give up on completely first listen? This is honestly one of my favorite records of the year.

Report this review (#563434)
Posted Sunday, November 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.


Report this review (#563576)
Posted Sunday, November 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If there's been an album released this year that's been more controversial than this, then I'm yet to hear of it. Lou Reed and Metallica! Surely not? Well after all the speculation of the last few months we can finally judge it for ourselves and to be honest it's not bad at all. Strangely, I feel the biggest objection to this may come from the diehard Metallica and Reed fans that in the main are probably poles apart in terms of musical preferences. The rest of us who are willing to approach it with an open mind may just discover something worthwhile. That's not to say that it's going to be to everyone's taste. Lulu is far from an easy listen and I imagine attract admirers and detractors in equal measure.

The concept of Lulu, which not surprisingly comes from Reed is based on works of Frank Wedekind, the German Expressionist whose plays explored sexual issues which were considered to far exceed the boundaries of decency at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. The two plays in question are Erdgeist (Earth Spirit) and Die Buchse Der Pandora (Pandora's Box) which tell the story of a German dancer who after rising in society down to her relationships with men of wealth eventually falls into prostitution where she even runs into Jack The Ripper. Such a dark concept requires equally dark music and this is where Metallica come in. What on the face of it may appear a totally unlikely workable collaboration actually makes perfect sense. Metallica for a band at the forefront of ground breaking metal haven't, let's face it, done anything ground breaking for many, many years. This somewhat redresses the balance. The music here is incredibly heavy and dark, no doubt seeming more so by bearing the concept in mind. It's recognisably Metallica and yet it's not. Here, no doubt to allow Reed's storytelling to take full fruition they are happy to lock into a repetitive groove, sometimes accompanied by a haunting drone which in its relentlessness at times becomes more disturbing and powerful as a consequence.

The greatest challenge to Metallica fans I imagine will be having Reed replace James Hetfield on vocals. He does sing here, in a secondary role and to be honest doesn't add anything worthwhile. Reed fans already familiar with his often spoken word delivery may have fewer problems. There's none of the crooning here from Reed that those only familiar with his hit Perfect Day will have heard. He does sing at times, yet without any discernible melody and is more prone to go for his spoken delivery which in view of the subject matter makes better sense. His lyrics are certainly graphic, occasionally cringe worthy as he chants "spermless like a girl" on Frustration for example. You won't want to play it when your Granny comes round for tea.

It's a long album, just a bit too long at eighty seven minutes to fit onto a single Cd. Not surprisingly for such a long album it does stumble from time to time - Little Dog is dreadful as Reed talks over a structure-less and tuneless acoustic guitar backed drone and as a whole the first disc works better than the second being less prone to aimless wandering. The longest track on the album, Junior Dad is twenty minutes long and on a musical level one of the mellower pieces here on the whole. It does outstay its welcome somewhat however, the second half being a string section driven drone bringing to mind Reed's first band The Velvet Underground.

Overall, despite its flaws Lulu is a very worthwhile project with moments of brilliance, mainly on the first disc which generally has the shorter songs giving less opportunity for noodling. Tracks such as The View, Pumping Blood and Mistress Dread which come in quick succession are truly captivating in their delivery but the weaker moments take away any chance of this becoming an essential piece of work. Already Reed is talking of wanting to collaborate again with Metallica. I await with interest. 3 ½ stars.

Report this review (#563823)
Posted Monday, November 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
4 stars People are funny, really funny. The ones called 'trolls' are all over the internet. You can't make anything different cause they'll complain, but if you release the same record every year... they'll complain as well.

I've been never a Metallica fan, always thought Load better than the Black Album, ...And Justice for All better than Master of Puppets and despite the fact I don't like it, I do understand St. Anger. Never been a Lou Reed fan as well, just heard the 1972's Transformer and I don't like Velvet Underground, yeah, maybe I'm not the best one to listen Lulu, but, who cares?!?

What made me listen this record, that is still available for streaming ( was the fact that something different was being made on our tired musical world.

For me, the only thing that is really awfull in Lulu are the drums being beated by Lars, but, at this point, everybody is used already to his terrible drums.

Some of the songs here are quite too long and James definitely had to sing more cause he have a very good voice and Lou sounds too tired for me (maybe the years are being really heavy on him). Metallica at the end brought some very good riffs and great melodies, but, really, nothing really outstanding, fantastic or original.

The album as a whole, is very experimental, and if you open your head, and really stop to listen it, not just play it as a soundtrack while you 'troll' someone on Facebook or Twitter, it's possible to find a lot of good moments, even not being an album for all moments But of course, the silly Metallica fans that will eternally have 15 years old (even if they're 40) will not do that. They'll just say it's the wors thing ever. Maybe the Lou Reed fans get it.

Report this review (#563991)
Posted Monday, November 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars "I AM THE TABLE"

Sometimes controversial ideas on paper can become quite good in practice. When Metallica fans heard that an upcoming album featuring Lou Reed, many raised their concern. I myself haven't listened to an entire Metallica album since my early adolescence so my reaction was of a more curious nature. Well, on the upside, this album really surprised me. "Surprised" is an understatement. If I had walked into my room and seen Lars and James taking a [&*!#] into my schoolbag, I would've been less surprised. And I would have felt less violated.

Halfway into the first track, I was convinced that it was some kind of a joke. Then the second track came, then the third. The thing that most people criticize right off the bat is the vocals, but I'll put them aside for now. Let's start with the music. Most of the songs contain one single riff. It is as if they took unmemorable verse riffs from Load/Reload, and looped them for 8 minutes for each song. Three or four chords repeated for 8 minutes, honorable mention goes to "Mistress Dread" with a single chord build up riff that tricks the listener into thinking that something major is going to happen, but instead is repeated for 8 minutes. Single chord. What the hell? I would expect better composition from your average garage band that consist of 12 year-olds. The bass is barely audible so I can't say much about it. Well, and then there's drums. My god. This album includes some of the dullest, least creative drumming I've ever heard. They barely carry the riffs and and the fills and breaks are stupid and sloppy. So, the instrumental side of this "conceptual masterpiece" is a massive failure. Now, for the vocals, I'm going to say that they got experimental and creative instead of saying that they just didn't give a single [%*!#]. It sound like Lou Reed is freestyle rapping over the instruments. The "singing" is not in sync with what the instruments are doing at any time and the lyrics are so stupid that making them up on the spot would not be an excuse good enough. And James takes the worst sentences and repeats them.

As some people point out, this album is very experimental, and I can agree on that. However, the nature of experiments is that some of them fail. Some of them fail catastrophically. This album is one of those failures. It may have a nice concept behind it and all, but if the music doesn't deliver, the album doesn't. I've got nothing against it being unusual, after all, this is a site dedicated to progressive music. The instrumental work, isn't unusual, but bland and unoriginal and that kills this album on a fundamental level. The singing is just the icing on the cake. Playing and audiobook over the instruments would've been a bold and experimental move too. And that would've been just as bad.

Report this review (#572622)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
Retired Admin
1 stars To many Metallica seemed to be a dead horse the moment the band released their eighth studio album St. Anger in 2003. The amateur production, undeveloped and raunchy compositions, and overall rather, well, bad album seemed to signal the death of the once most popular metal band in the world. Band tensions were at an all-time high, and the band seemed to be on the verge of dissolution. Yet, the band returned in 2008 with the significantly better Death Magnetic. The album signaled the apparent return to their thrash metal riffs, and while the songs on the album were not as progressive or forward thinking as some on their earlier albums, the album was decisively not bad. When the band announced in 2011 that they were to be collaborating with legendary experimental artist Lou Reed, understandably many fans were rather frightened at the prospect. The two famous musicians, Lou Reed and Metallica as a whole, are very well known not only for their strong headed beliefs but also their general jerk-ish nature. While other similarities may have made it seem as the collaboration might have had some lick of potential, the interesting pairing was bound to have issues. Lou Reed, who is just about 70 years old, is certainly in no position to start making music with a famous metal band. Metallica, whose strong headedness and desire to not care about anyone else in the music business, was not exactly in the position to make music with this 70 year old musician. Nevertheless, LULU was made.

The LULU project was an interesting concept to say the least. The album is a double concept album based off the drama of the same name by playwright Frank Wedekind. Reed was allowed to lead the vocal output as well as write all the lyrics. What emerged was the single "The View." The song was abrasive, to say the least. Reed's more "elderly" voice recites his amateurish "poetry" in a spoken word style over Metallica's thrash metal based riffs. The riffs weren't the most creative the band's ever produced, and Reed's choppy vocal work made the whole song entirely humorous. This laughable effort made me, as well as most critics and fans, very worried about the overall release.

The listener's trepidations were answered on Halloween 2011 with the official album release. The 80+ minute album was a true pain to endure through. Reed's vocal performance on "The View" is sadly one of the best on the album, with his vocal work on "Brandenburg Gate" and "Cheat on Me" being especially horrendous. I must say if I begin to laugh hysterically at any body of music that is meant to be released entirely seriously is not a good sign. The awkward, badly coordinated and uncomfortable don't aid this either. While the music behind the awkward vocals as well as James Hetfield's strong backing vocals are overall "good," I really can't take Lou Reed's chanting seriously.

Somehow I can see how the band seemed to enjoy making this album. The music they wrote is not bad. It has that thrash flair that was present on Death Magnetic and is overall quite good for the classic thrash band. They obviously still have somewhat of an experimental bone in them, and what they heard of Lou Reed's dissonant screeching must have impressed them somehow. Also, I can see that they thought it might have been cool to stick to the music industry with this album. Somehow they succeeded in not only drawing me in to the album but getting it and listening to it a number of times, despite the fact that I hated near every listen. There is a point where "avant-garde" and "experimental" becomes "terrible" and "pointless," and this album has for sure crossed that threshold by many miles.

There's not much more to say on Metallica's tenth studio album. The album, pointlessly running at over 87 minutes, is spread over two discs and is a laborious listen the whole way through. Each song has something hysterical to laugh at, and usually its Reed's warbling spoken word vocals. The album also features a few "epics," most notably the pointlessly long 19-minute drone piece "Junior Dad," which really ends at 3 minutes yet continues on for another 16 minutes in a vindictive rant of droney strings, Reed's occasionally haunting wolf moan, occasional actual music, and an overall pointless run of ambient mush. In the end, LULU has shown itself to be Metallica's most controversial release yet, and it doesn't tilt in their favor. 1 star.

Report this review (#572631)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars I've been a Metallica fan for most of my life. I discovered them early on (around age 8) and never turned back. Though some of their albums (...And Justice For All, Black Album, Master of Puppets) were better than others (Load, Reload), overall they were easily one of my two favorite bands, along with Pink Floyd, until I discovered a band that combi9ned the two in Dream Theater.

When St. Anger first came out, I had mixed feelings. No solos!?!? Kirk, how'd you let them do that to you!? The drums sounded utterly terrible, too... Still, there were a few songs that were fairly decent. If I blocked out the drumming in my head, I could enjoy it.

When Death Magnetic came out... Wow. It may honestly be my favorite Metallica album. It had tons of edginess, tight compositions, killer thrash riffs, and an overall sense of completion and perfection that is hard to find in metal. I felt like Metallica was finally back on track, inspired to put out great music for years to come...

...I was wrong.

Lulu is absolutely horrendous to listen to. When I heard "The View" before the album came out I seriously thought that it was a joke. I thought Metallica was pulling everyone's chain and rolling on the ground laughing back in their homes as they waited for the REAL album to be released. Instead, I was rolling on the ground crying as I listened to the chaotic, senseless, rambling mess that Metallica and Lou Reed have the balls to call "music".

I'm not against this album because it's different like some condescending reviews claim others are. I'm not some Metallica hater that has to diss all of their stuff; one glance at the ratings I gave their other albums will rid you of such thoughts. I'm just a person that enjoys high quality music and this is quite simply NOT anything that I'm in any way interested in listening to ever again.

I have a rule with albums from bands that I like... I give them at least ten full listens before I decide to forget it and pretend that it didn't happen. Even with albums that I'm not a huge fan of like Dream Theater's "When Dream and Day Unite" I'll still listen to them from time to time, but I will NEVER listen to LuLu again as long as I live.

What makes LuLu so bad? Let me tell you! It's pointless. Metallica plays music on the album that could probably be pretty decent overall at times, but a lot of their riffs are reminiscent of doom metal, slow and chugging, and while I appreciate that in small doses, I thought there was too much of it. The slow pace of many of the songs just adds to an already boring atmosphere to make every song seem like it just slowly drags on and on and on and on and on and on and on and... Oh, sorry, I was imitating the album there.

The acoustic stuff that Metallica plays from time to time is pretty interesting; it's nice to hear them tone down every now and then, and it's even better when Lou Reed isn't speaking over it! Lou Reed's style on this album is just not for me. I don't like it at all. He sounds like an old man rambling on and on, talking about chopping his "legs and tits off" and all sorts of other random things that make you stop and think to yourself, "What the %$#@ did he just say?". Sometimes he is out of tune with all of the music, sometimes he's out of rhythm with the music. It doesn't fit. It just doesn't fit.

So... With all of that out of the way, I'll give a brief rundown of each song:

Brandenburg Gate - 1/5 This song's main riff is actually kind of nice. The only problem is that it continues throughout pretty much the entire song. The vocals are not very good, neither from Reed nor Hetfield. Hetfield's vocals are usually pretty awesome for metal music, but I didn't enjoy hearing him belt out "SMALL town GUHrrrrlll" over and over again.

The View - 1/5 This song's slow grinding riff is actually pretty killer, but it should be played probably 1/20th as much as it's actually played. It's like if you drink some egg nog and it tastes REALLY good, so you drink another glass and another and another and another and... Suddenly the egg nog doesn't taste good anymore because you've had too much. The chorus is actually kind of classic Metallica for a few brief moments before going back into the slow grind again. The vocals on the chorus are OK. But they're not OK on the verse. Lou Reed rambles on and on about wanting to see you on the floor. Congratulations, Lou, because we're not even ten minutes into this album and I AM on the floor wondering why I bought it.

Pumping Blood - 1/5 Interesting open with violins and then the bass drum starts kicking. The opening riff seems like a cross between a St. Anger and Reload song. Yeah, that's gives you a pretty good idea of how good it is. Lou Reed's repetition of the song's title, "pumping blood", is laughable. In fact, when my cousin listened to this album, he started laughing at this point, as did I. Two minutes into the song we finally stop hearing that intro riff. Now it's Lou Reed talking over droning synths about nonsense metaphors of blood and rivers. Come on, don't you want to hear about the tributary of his heart? Nah, me neither. I honestly said "What the F%$#!?!?" like ten different times in response to the lyrics of this song. Anyway, the music starts building up slowly in a pretty entertaining and cool way, Kirk sustaining a single note over the other guitar and drums. And then... All of that built up tension dies out without culminating. We start to build up again... What's going to happen? Lou Reed is going to keep talking about his heart! He has an ordinary heart! He has an ordinary heart! He has an ordinary heart! Did you hear that? No? One more time then... He has an ordinary heart! The song actually ends with an awesome riff, but it can't make up for everything before it.

Mistress Dead - 1/5 This opens with soft synths before going into a speed metal riff. Hey, this could be g... Oh, no, there's Lou Reed moaning about his dress in his old man voice. Imagine if Larry King made an album. That's how Reed's vocals sound throughout most of the album. So here we are, three and a half minutes into the song, and it's been doing the exact same thing the entire song, but now Lou Reed isn't speaking... Are things about to change?? Really? Nope, there he goes again, and the riff is still the same thing, too. FINALLY, 4:50 into the song, we have the first musical change. Everything dies out for a moment before doing some weird stuff behind Lou Reed, who is still moaning and gargling about. And then... Ah, shoot, back to the same speed metal riff again.

Seriously... A 7 minute song with pretty much one riff the entire time? Wow.

Iced Honey - 3/5 This song is actually solid. The guitar riff is heavy but surprisingly upbeat and interesting. The arpeggios played over the main power chords really add a lot to the song. Lou Reed's vocals are actually somewhat fitting for the song, too. Hetfield complements him really well in the background as well.

This is the first song on the album that is pleasant to the ears. The one complaint I have: It doesn't go anywhere. Once again, that main riff is used for pretty much the entire song. Where are the transitions? The choruses? The refrains? The solos? There's not much of that.

Still, this song is decent.

Cheat On Me - 2/5 This song begins with some dull keyboard synths. After close to a minute and a half of this, the lead guitar sneaks it to play along with the keyboards. 30 seconds later the bass joins them cautiously. Hearing Metallica create an atmospheric piece is really unexpected and different. It's actually done fairly well so far, but then, three minutes into it Lou Reed asks, "Why do you cheat on me? Why do I cheat on me? Why do I cheat on me? Why do I cheat on me?". Uuuhhh, for one, you're talking to yourself, dude. For two, YOU'RE asking yourself so you shouldn't have to repeat yourself!

And then Reed contradicts "Pumping Blood" by claiming that he has a passionate heart. Damn, I thought it was ordinary. You only told us that like a million times. Close to 4 and a half minutes into the song the snare drum joins in and it actually has a pretty cool sound if you can ignore the fact that Lou Reed has said, "Why do I cheat on me?" like 25 times already.

The song gets a bit heavier as the guitar chugs along. Again, the song itself is actually pretty good so far. Not even Lou Reed's vocals are terrible. The lyrics, though, are irritating. Repetition can be good, but there is a line that can be crossed...When he starts saying, "Why do I cheat cheat cheat cheat cheat cheat cheat on me?" I have to ask myself if he's doing this on purpose to be a jerk. And then it's "Why why why why... why do you cheat on me?" Holy s$#^@ dude, one time is enough!

I would give it a 3/5 because it's actually decent music, but the lyrics are just laughable and detract from the song.

Frustration - 1/5 No song title could be quite as ironically accurate as Frustration. By the time you get to this song, you've endured around 40 minutes of frustration. Anyway, the first minute of this song is ambiance noise. Then the guitars come crushing in with a pretty solid heavy metal riff. The vocals pop in and they're so-so, but the lyrics are disturbing and odd. Seriously, there are times where these songs sound like a crazy old man who has entirely lost his mind rambling on nonsensically in semi-musical tones. The second section of this song is one of those times. Then the song heads back to some of the first riff's sounds before going back into pure, unabated RAMBLING. It sucks. Then there's another thrashy Metallica riff, but of course the vocals just don't fit very well. The riff is quite nice by itself. The awesome thrashiness continues until almost at the end before it slows down into the crushing riff and then ends. I would give it a 2, but the two rambling sections destroy it.

Little Dog - 3/5 This song starts with what sounds like an attempt to honor Johnny Cash. Acoustic guitar plays in drop D darkly behind brooding deep rumblings of vocals. This song sounds like it could have some potential here! Then the guitars pick up, strumming for a few seconds before softening back up as the vocals pick back up.

You hear a light droning of electric guitar feedback in the background and Lars taps a few cymbals from time to time. The guitar play a few notes far in the background, adding to the atmosphere. About 4 and a half minutes into the song the electric guitar becomes slightly more prominent and eventually Lars begins thumping some of his toms. 6 minutes in, Reed comes back into the picture. Kirk is shredding a little bit in the background... I'm not sure why, but he is! Lou Reed starts repeating everything he says twice... Oh no, not the repetition again... DAMN IT! This song was actually pretty good, too. Now we're just repeating ourselves, just repeating ourselves. Now we're just repeating ourselves like a parrot. Just like a parrot. A parrot! Anyway, this song is actually pretty pleasant the entire time.

Dragon - 3/5 There's a lot of noise and ambiance for the first minute and a half, but Lou Reed fills it in by repeating himself and speaking out but sometimes randomly singing the last half of a word in a terrible way. He ironically states, "I thought you were listening... hallucination!" Yeah, it must be a hallucination for someone to be listening to this!... Finally the guitar starts doing something, playing a few distorted chords in the background. After the two minute mark the guitars get louder. Something is about to happen. Lou Reed says "One [%*!#]s with" twice and you know it's about to get... BAM! Heavy metal riff, slow but good. The riff continues, aggressive but mysterious, and Lou Reed rambles over it. His vocals are decent so far on the metal riff, not entirely abhorrent as they were at the beginning of the song. They actually sort of fit the music! It's amazing! Kirk plays a really experimental-sounding guitar solo, heavily trem-bar'd, but it sounds cool. Back to the riff with Reed's bearable vocals. The riff is good and everything, but again, it goes on too long. We're talking about an 11 minute song and the entire second half of it is essentially the same riff. Kirk solos again, once again highly experimental and fragmented.

Junior Dad - 2/5 This song actually starts off pretty nice. The vocals are decent most of the time other than isolated moments. The clean electric guitar in the background adds nicely to the song. Then BOOM, it gets heavier while still maintaining that pleasant, laid-back vibe. Unfortunately this second time through Lou Reed's vocals don't fit quite as well, but they're still not abrasive... Wait, sometimes they are when he wails out.

The song softens back down. Now the focus is more on Reed's vocals. That's not good. Sh*t, he's rambling again. WTF, he's talking about monkeys and blindness? I'm lost... Anyway, this song continues along in the same vein for quite a while. At times it gets heavier as it did earlier, keeping the same vibe, and at other times it's soft and laid back. Finally, quite a ways in, keyboards take over. The keyboards remain in control... Pleasant, but not much happening. Not what you look for in a Metallica album.

Nice song, but way too long for what is contained within it. My inner English teacher grading papers wants to say "Be concise!"

Overall, had they eliminated about half of this album, it could have been an OK release. The terrible tracks though, are absolutely TERRIBLE. The fact that most of them are front loaded is going to turn a lot of people off before even hearing the rest. The rest of the album isn't THAT bad, but none of it is particularly good, either.

If you have extremely eclectic tastes, you MIGHT enjoy this album. There are pieces that are worthwhile and good, but there are so many things wrong with it... I'm personally not going to bother. I may listen to a few individual tracks from time to time, but generally when I listen to music I like to listen to whole albums, and that just ain't going to happen with Lulu. If not, I hope I haven't completely dissuaded you from giving this album a chance, just know that it's probably not going to be the best thing you've ever heard.

I wanted to give this album 1 star to spite some of the reviews that have given it 4 stars because I can't even fathom calling this an "excellent album" (And don't get me started on what I think of giving this 5 stars!) but ultimately I have to give it the justice that it deserves from my own point of view (Just not THE view, because it sucks), and my point of view is that this is a 2 star album. Maybe 2.5. I definitely think that Load and Reload are better, and both of them are under 2 stars on PA right now... But regardless, I gave this album 2 stars because it's something that Metallica fans NEED to at least listen to, but it's not what I would consider "good"

Report this review (#574659)
Posted Thursday, November 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars I will freely admit I was a Metallica fan boy back in the 80's, I was worried when the Black Album came out, By the time Load and reload came out, I was done with them, and on to totally different styles of music.I have not even heard St. Anger in its entirety, but when Death Magnetic Rolled out, I was excited, and really really liked that album, even went to my first concert of theirs in nearly 20 years!, I was all in, re-living my youth and feeling good about the future of the band, When I heard about this I thought, hey this might be interesting, Never cared much for Lou Reed, But the craziness of it sounded intriguing to me, In the last 20 years I have enjoyed some very challengingly bizarre music, "I can actually relax to Peter Brotzmann's Machine Gun" In the end, I was glad I only Borrowed a copy of Lu Lu, The guy I borrowed it from, didn't want it back either by the way.

This music is the most self indulgent bull [&*!#] I have heard in a long time, absolutely no redeeming qualities at all, brutal, self aggrandizing drivel, I now hate Lou Reed's guts, if you remove him, and put say, David Bowie or Mick Jagger in his place, and Actually sing instead recite lyrics most of the time, You might have something worth hearing. I tried like hell to enjoy this as art, But this was like a Crucifix in a jar of urine, Nothing remotely entertaining at all. I almost feel sheepish agreeing with all the Metal Heads out there, I listen more to Miles Davis than Metallica these days, and he was wildly criticized for thinking out side the box by fans and critics alike, This box needs to be sent to the center of the earth never to return, Dreadful!!!! this music is not for completionists, only sadists.

Report this review (#574728)
Posted Thursday, November 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars "Waggle my ass like a dark prostitute; coagulating heart, pumping blood. Come on James!"

At least nobody's dense enough to accuse Metallica of trying to sell out with this album. In early 2009, in the midst of touring Death Magnetic and doing whatever else, Metallica found itself at a celebratory event for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and while there they made the acquaintance of the aged Lou Reed (the former frontman of The Velvet Underground and a well- established solo musician in his own right, in case you somehow don't know that). After spending a couple of years mulling over the idea of collaborating, the two parties got together and made an album that's definitely more Reed than Metallica (they do all the instrumental work, and James sings from time to time, but this is clearly Reed's vision). The bulk of it consists of Reed reciting poetry (with occasional forays into singing) based around a pair of plays ("Erdgeist" and "Die Büchse der Pandora") from the early 1900s by a man named Frank Wedekind. It may have been an interesting idea on paper, but it's every bit as abominable as advertised (I'm writing this a couple of weeks after it came out, and while it's possible that, somehow, time will mellow people's reactions towards it, I'm not holding my breath). The marriage between the two sides is as awkward as can possibly be, and while there are certainly some lyrical gems from Reed (I admit thinking that "I wish that I could kill you but I too love your eyes" is a really inspired line) and some snippets of potential goodness from the band (the beginning riff of "Frustration" is a good one, and there are parts of "Pumping Blood" that I wish could be transplanted elsewhere), the overall effect is abysmal. The band basically disappears for most of the last track, the 19:29 (!!) "Junior Dad," which turns into endlessly droning strings by the end. Funnily enough, I actually think this album could have worked somewhat as either a pure Reed solo effort or in collaboration with a less established, more "indie-ish" band, but as is, it doesn't work at all.

So the album sucks, and a track-by-track dissection is pointless. The much more interesting question is why this happened. I can't really figure out the enigma of Reed (this is the man who made Metal Machine Music and by this time seemingly joyously reveled in the idea of not having any fans since then), but while I might be wrong, I think I have a glimpse into what happened with Metallica. See, I've never been able to shake the idea that the band couldn't have been entirely satisfied with Death Magnetic. Oh, I don't mean that they had anything against any of the individual songs or against the flow of the album or the production or anything specific like that. What I mean is that, deep down, James/Kirk/Lars (Rob didn't have enough history with the band for this to be a major issue) couldn't have been thrilled at the idea that the only way to satisfy such a large contingent of their fanbase was to unearth a decades'-old formula they'd avoided for a while. It was pretty much inevitable that, for the sake of their collective sanity, whatever followed DM would have to be a major stylistic detour from what the band had done thus far. And Lulu is definitely a major stylistic detour; while there are certainly moments that (as mentioned) could have been reworked into more standard fare, the overall approach is very different from anything the band had done before. Hammett, for instance, doesn't come close to his standard soloing style (there might be one somewhere on the album but I'll be damned if I'm going to go back and listen yet again to hunt it down), and a lot of his parts seem to be going for a sort of static-y metallic textural approach. The others all similarly do things that sound interesting on paper but come out clumsy and boring on the album.

What's slightly more alarming is that seemingly nobody involved saw fit to stop this trainwreck while it was still in progress, yet I'm not sure this development is surprising either. I mean, it's almost certain that they recognized that some, and probably even a lot of fans and critics would hate this, but I'm not sure they cared. And honestly, I'm not sure I blame anybody in Metallica for not caring. I mean, their entire career after 1983 (maybe earlier?) has been defined by fans complaining about every change they made away from what they were "supposed" to do. They complained when "Fade to Black" had elements of dark balladry. They complained when Master of Puppets became a surprisingly popular album. They complained when "One" had a music video. They complained when the band got bored and made a smash hit with Metallica. They complained when the band got its hair cut. They complained when the band decided to make its fondness of country explicit through "Mama Said" and the "Tuesday's Gone" cover. They complained when the band played with an orchestra. They complained when the band had the audacity to air its problems in film. And so on. Point is, if everything past, sheesh, the first 3-5% of your career involved large amounts of people complaining at you every time you defied their expectations and demands, wouldn't you eventually drown them out and not treat anything they said or thought as worth acknowledging? What essentially happened, in my mind, is that Metallica's fans cried "wolf" so many times that the band decided it was easier just to launch a pre- emptive strike of ignoring its fans when they'd complain about this album ... except that this time, thinking about what the fans would think would have been a really great idea. So you, you still wearing a faded Kill 'Em All shirt and still complaining to anybody who will listen about how awful "Nothing Else Matters" is: you are to blame for Lulu. I hope you're happy.

Anyway, this album does have some interesting bits here and there, which is why I'm tempted to give it a higher grade ... but if ever there was an album that deserved to be the dictionary definition of "artistic blunder," this is it. Neither Reed fans nor Metallica fans need bother with this.

Report this review (#575514)
Posted Friday, November 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars It seemed that with "Death Magnetic" Metallica had become at least the shadow of themselves, after touching the lowest point of their career with the rancid and inaudible "St. Anger". Instead it was just a momentary illusion. Besides, what else can you ask the californians, after having conceived a masterwork like "Master of Puppets"? In any case, it makes me really bite my hands thinking about the immense talent of this band, wasted after "The Black Album" in a thousand useless musical projects and in senseless musical extravaganzas (like the present one). Too good, too soon: this was their blessing and their curse at the same time. Gioacchino Rossini at least had the courage not to write anything else after his masterpiece: the "William Tell" (and he was only 32!). As for the foul cacophony and musical abortion which has been given the name of "Lulu", my final rating is, of course: 0 stars.
Report this review (#579413)
Posted Thursday, December 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Oh boy, Metallica's Lulu. An album that has already become famous over the internet and in real life. Most listeners have placed labels on this new album, labelling it as "the death of Metallica" or "the worst album ever recorded".

I know that it may sound strange, but it's really, really not that bad.

Metallica recently made the strange idea of collaborating with Lou Reed, of The Velvet Underground. This entire collaboration album was written and recorded and finished in just 10 days (surprisingly, since this thing contains 90 minutes of music).

Many people hate this album because it is different. And ho ho oh boy, it is DIFFERENT. Most people, no matter if they like it or not, would categorize this album as at least three things - ambitious, twisted, and incredibly disturbing. Oh, and different, of course.

Lou Reed is the main focal point of this album. He doesn't sing, but he speaks. Much like Dirge (France)'s "Wings of Lead Over Dormant Seas" song, Lou Reed basically recites poetry (which follows a concept about a woman named Lulu, based on a play by Frank Wedekind) while Metallica jams in the background. Lou Reed comes close to singing at many a few points, but never with a real melody. Lou's lyrics are solid, they have a very "metal" feel to them, and they are totally, completely bonkers and insane, but at points they can be admittedly quite ridiculous, and I have gotten more than many giggles out of a few of the lyrics, "Little Dog" and "Pumping Blood" being the most notable. These are perhaps some of the strangest lyrics I have ever heard, only second to Sunn O)))'s song "My Wall".

As for Metallica's side of this album, it is, so to speak "Metallica as usual". Musically, it is more similar to Death Magnetic than their classic 80's thrash albums, but it's not bad, though it could use some work as it does sound a bit sloppy. Take, for example, the intro song "Brandenburg Gate" - it opens with a really distasteful acoustic guitar which sets a course for a mediocre glam rock song. James' vocals are here, and they are very good, better than in Death Magnetic where he sounded tired. However, his vocals here are sparingly used, and for the most part you will be hearing Lou and his bonkers ramblings.

Setting aside the good aspects, though, the drumming is quite horrible. Lars Ulrich has always been a fairly mediocre drummer and has gotten progressively worse and worse with each release, and he makes it known on this album, and he constantly abuses the poor snare drum and cymbal, and his drumming is far too loud in the mix. (The sheer loudness of the drums in the beginning of "The View" was literally painful to listen to.) The second half of "Junior Dad" is also agonizing - it consists simply of a pointless drone sound, and only 11 minutes of actual music.

So, why am I giving this such a "low" (3 star) score, if I seem to like it so much? Well, because it is incredibly demanding to listen to. I would imagine it impossible to sit through all 90 minutes of this bleak, twisted and disturbing affair for all 90 minutes, and of course, the drumming is straight up garbage, and there is a few bad songs. This project is also over-ambitious, and Metallica know they lost alot of fans with this release. I am not one of those fans. I personally think this is a decent to great entry in Metallica's back catelouge, and is without a doubt the most interesting album I have heard in thrash. While I still look forward to Metallica's next "real" album, there is still the darkness and ambience of "Lulu" that will keep me and only a handful of others at least half-satisfied. As for highlights, look out for "Pumping Blood" and (dare I say it) "Little Dog".

Total rating: 3 stars (67% on MPV scale)

Report this review (#579588)
Posted Thursday, December 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars Lou Reed has crafted a masterful, finely-produced concept album which is inspired by the German expressionism of the inter-war period and updates those ideas for the modern day, backed by a competent backing band of highly capable musicians who expertly bring his ideas to life.

That album is called "Berlin", he put it out in 1973 and it's really quite excellent.

Lulu, on the other hand, wow. A lot of words have been written, spoken, and yelled about Lulu from the point of view of it being a Metallica album - and as far as Metallica albums go, it's pretty poor - but I want to spend a little time to speak about it from the perspective of a Lou Reed fan. As I outline above, the album occupies territory which Lou has already covered, and covered more than adequately over the course of his solo career. The fact that he is choosing to revisit it with Metallica only shows how short on ideas the guy is these days. (His other most recent endeavour? Trying to put across the idea that the Metal Machine Music album was a serious artistic statement and touring with a trio playing similar noise. Sorry Lou, the noise rock bandwagon already left you in the dust.)

I love him for the contributions he made to proto-punk and glam back in the day, but the fact is that he just can't cut it as a lyricist or a singer any more. Putting him front of Metallica only makes these problems even more blindingly obvious than they already are.

Report this review (#590080)
Posted Saturday, December 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album was horrid. Seriously. I don't think I've ever given a one, but this is a close contender. Metallica's LuLu is pretty much what you would expect from Metallica when it comes to guitar, drums, and bass. Everything's Metallic-y. And it sounds perfectly fine. But then the, what I like to call, old man doing free form poetry over metal music, comes in. And it is absolutely disgusting to my ears. Look, I love Lou Reed, I love Metallica, I hate this album. With a passion. Its seriously one of the worst albums I've listened to. Now, all the bad has been said, the instrumentals are perfect. In fact, they are really really good. So based on that' I'd give this album a 2 out of 5. Since it's not just fecal matter recorded on a disc, now thankfully, Someone uploaded the entire album without vocals on youtube. And I recommend you listen to that version.
Report this review (#744496)
Posted Thursday, April 26, 2012 | Review Permalink
1 stars This album will beat all the scores on any metal portal. This collaboration record between the old and tired experimental rock singer Lou Reed and the aged thrash metal legend Metallica will probably get the lowest average rating ever by the fans. My rating score will probably be amongst the most favourable reviews because I try to analyze this output from an objective and not an emotional point of view. I may accord a score of twenty-five to this album but emotionally, this is not even worth half of this score indeed. Let's take a look on what happened.

Lou Reed and Metallica decided to work together after having played together live at the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame 25th anniversary show. Lou Reed had been working on a conception album featuring passages inspired by the controversial German playwright Frank Wedekind. Lulu tells the story of a desperate and disillusioned woman that is only a shadow of her past and lives a fatal emotionless circle of sex, abuse and despair. The emotionless spoken word vocals by Lou Reed, the minimalist instruments, the experimental style of this album and the cold and simple album cover underline the concept. Let's note that this album doesn't feature much of James Hetfield's vocals and only a few lost thrash riffs. This album is eighty percent Lou Reed and maybe twenty percent Metallica and this estimation is eventually even quite optimistic.

So far, so good but the music itself is even harder to digest as the story itself. The two artists created a lot of overlong tracks with a lack of variation, emotion and diversity. This is no accident but an effect they really wanted to create to bring the story to life and give an authentic and unique twist to this experimental collaboration. The final result included though too many emotionless overlong passages that may even bore the most open-minded and intellectual music fan in the world to death. After two or three minutes, everything is said but the songs are stretched at least three times too much with a peak of almost twenty minutes of dumb and hypnotizing boredom in the final "Junior Dad". Metallica sad that the section of classic music in the second half of the track made them cry and really touched them but I never heard such a boring and closed minded piece of classic music. There are a few additional musicians that play viola, cello, violin and electronic instruments but everything sounds as one big indefinable potpourri. Don't even think about symphonic metal bands such as Therion, Apocalyptica or even Savatage if you read about those guest musicians who know how to mix metal music with classic passages. Even Metallica's controversial "S&M" experiment which I actually liked was way more convincing than this failure.

Almost all songs are overlong, boring and dumb but I really must point out the track "Little Dog". This is by far the worst metal song I have ever listened to in my life. Well, I would not even call this music. It has a more than minimalist and exchangeable instrumental work while Lou Reed uses a completely emotionless and blurry murmured voice to put some almost random spoken word passages over the music for eight long minutes. He has no charisma, no variation and no energy. This can't even be defended by the fact that the band wanted to bring a desperate and emotionless character to life. Music, vocals and lyrics just don't fit together. If you are at this kind of emotional degree, you are already more than suicidal. Even a dog would moan and run away by listening to this incredible piece of garbage and try to commit suicide by biting his own tail off until there is no blood left to be shed. This song is an open insult to psychedelic rock, Krautrock and any progressive Stoner metal as any amateur band of any of these kinds is better and more authentic than what Lou Reed and Metallica deliver with this anti-effort. This sounds like Johnny Cash on a heavy dose of cannabis just before his death. I declare this the worst metal song ever.

Compared to this disasterpiece even the really bad tracks on this overlong double-album merit a few low percentage ratings and vary between horrible and pretty bad. The longer the tracks are, the worse they get. Many critics laughed about the weird "The View" with its strange and ridiculous lyrics but this track turns out to be the most dynamicle and diversified track on the album which is only beaten by the solid opener "Brandenburg Gate" which is simply too short to get redundant even if the chorus is already repeated way too much. I want to underline that we talk about acceptable to mediocre songs and not about good efforts but next to the eight disasterpieces that follow these songs sound like a relief. Anybody that bashed "The View" will be stunned by the high degree of failure of the rest of the record if he or she is tough enough to make it entirely through this record. Sometimes, you can skip five minutes within the song and everything still sounds the same. Let me give you an advice: Don't waste your time and money on that. Don't buy this because you have all the other Metallica records. Don't expect this to grow on you. It will probably even get worse the more youi listen to this. If you didn't like "The View", you'll hate the rest even more. If you liked "The View", chances are elevated you may nevertheless hate the rest. This is the kind of record one person among ten thousand will like but I'm not into this at all.

In the end, the acceptable two first tracks, the story and the at least interesting concept itself and the acceptable sound of the record add a few points to a very bad final rating. I always defended Metallica and I liked all of their experimental works in the past. I'm one of those who adored "Load" and especially "ReLoad" quite a lot and who was able to accept the "St. Anger" record which really grew on me over the years and happens to be among my favourite Metallica albums. "Lulu" just won't grow. There is no diversity. There is no energy. There is no authenticity. Even harsh critics must admit that the controversial "St. Anger" is a masterpiece compared to this, anybody else is really out of his mind. The release date of this garbage is a hard day for the heavy metal universe. But let's see this from a positive point of view. No matter what Metallica will record in the beginning of the next year, the band's upcoming solo record can definitely only be an improvement. But they surely lost a lot of fans with "Lulu" who won't give them any new chance and I can really understand this. What did Metallica think by doing this? I really think they do whatever they want and don't give a damn about anything else. That's artistically interesting but commercially suicidal. There is no excuse this time.

Originally published on on November 1st of the year 2011.

Report this review (#808892)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2012 | Review Permalink
1 stars "Lulu", One real mess of horrible vocals, stupid infantile lyrics, horrible solos and overall guitar playing, very boring melodies, and disgusting drumming. This album is one of the most hated albums of all times, I think that it is for a reason. I really don't know what Metallica's band members were thinking to themselves when they took Mr. Lou Reed from Velvet Underground, and made this piece of garbage. After listening to this album you can confidently say that, this is it, Metallica is a sold out band, making some poser-like "metal" together with a singer which did a very bad job, in vocals, lyrics writing and more... I can't listen to this album without being very sad about what happened to one of my ex-favorite bands, what happened to masterpieces like "Master Of Puppets", "Orion"," Call Of Ktulu", it is really hard for me to think about the current Metallica, a poser pop-metal band, with some of the worst lyrics that Iv'e ever heard, like in " Brandenburg Gate", the song starts with some strumming of chords, then proceeds to some very raspy and oldman-like singing of Lou Reed with the lyrics: "I would cut my legs and tits off when I think of Boris Karloff and Kinski In the dark of the moon" those lyrics are making no sense, I couldn't even realise what are those stupid lyrics are about, are they about Lou Reed cutting his tits and legs when he thinks about some Russian guys? Or like in songs like "The View" lyrics like: " I am the table, I am the view, I am all this" or "I am the tablet", yes, of course that this song has a little more heavy, less stupid melody, but still, it only includes some very simple riffs and fills, with very stupid lyrics and I really don't like it. The only thing that I can think about when I am listening to this album is, where are you, Metallica, what happened to you for god's sake?!

My Overall rating for this album is 1/100 This album is just horrible, a complete piece of garbage.

Report this review (#921148)
Posted Friday, March 1, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars What's up with everyone here?! I can't believe you just can't stand Lou Reed's personal style of music! If you ask me, this album is great! Lou simply does it again, and spices the things a little way up, the only thing I hate is Lars' drums, they are too much for this work. I am sure that everyone expected a heavy, noisy Metallica work, but instead, they found this. I agree with something: I would never in my life put a top musician like Lou Reed with a band like Metallica, which has an audience full of people that just enjoy becoming crazy with heavy metal. Honestly, I can comprehend that every Metallica lover hates this album, obviously Lou Reed's music is way too much for your metal ears (I don't want to imagine what would you say if you listen to The Velvet Underground).

Conclusion: People who put 1 star to the album - Sorry guys, you're not ready for this kind of complexity in music.

People who put 4 or 5 stars - We belong together in ProgArchives!

Report this review (#1012940)
Posted Wednesday, August 7, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ahhh, Lulu. One of the main reasons I decided to begin writing reviews again was to touch upon this benighted object. It's an awful album, right? I mean it must be. It sounds not much at all like Metallica, and Lou, oh dear Lou (RIP) sounds like Eddie (the zombie mascot from Iron Maiden) making obscene phone calls in the middle of a drunken, drug fueled night of debauchery with the Marquis de Sade's shrink. But there's just SOMETHING about it that I can't quite shake. There are parts that grab me by the lovehandles and sort of throw me around and kick me in the face, and maybe I like that a little more than some listeners, but it doesn't sound nearly as "bad" as everyone makes it out to be even when I'm not in the mood to be tossed around like so much potato salad.

What's the problem here? Well, for one thing I believe this is an album made by two incredibly well beloved musical forces who share very few fans. I can't imagine many fans of Lou (especially those left after his last few efforts including the bland and pointless Hudson River album) were quite open to the chug chug thrump "YEAAAAAWWW" of Metallica anymore than many Metallica fans were really looking forward to the three chord progressions and Lou gasping like Leonard Cohen's dad about how he's an abused prostitute who loves her man.

And that's what makes this record great. Out of all things I've ever heard I can't imagine anything recorded more for the "f" of it than this. I don't believe anyone involved thought it would be really well received and I don't think Lou or Metallica were looking forward to it catapulting them to an even higher level of fame and glory. I really do believe Lou wanted to make the ugliest and most disturbing thing he could with the last sparks of energy he had in 'im and I believe he pulled it off quite well. The man who irked the music press for the last forty years by releasing Metal Machine Music (genius or total tripe?) got to go off doing what he did best, which is bothering people who don't know how to take him.

Plus "Iced Honey" "Junior Dad" "Pumping Blood" and "Mistress Dread" are all pretty great songs.

THE FUTURE OF MUSIC STARTS HERE! (and i'm not really kidding about that!)

Report this review (#1172570)
Posted Thursday, May 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars Overall, LuLu is a good experimental album.

It has some drawbacks: it doesn't flow good, and I don't think Lou Reed's voice really fits with the instrumentals.

I love both Metallica and Lou Reed.

Metallica have always been ridiculed for their new material. St. Anger is one of my favorite albums of all time, and yet no one could stand their sound on that album. Metallica's new album is also awesome, yet people look down on it just because "the old stuff is better".

Lou Reed is an old rock n' roller, and a true 70s experimentalist. He has a real great voice; he's so talented with words. The Velvet Underground were groundbreaking when they came out - they are still a real treat.

Put that together... these artists were having fun. Atonal pieces are hard to get into; this one wasn't done the best either. Still good, though... Why all the hate?

Report this review (#1867305)
Posted Tuesday, January 16, 2018 | Review Permalink

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