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Metallica Metallica & Lou Reed: Lulu album cover
2.06 | 282 ratings | 18 reviews | 7% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1 (39:54)
1. Brandenburg Gate (4:19)
2. The View (5:17)
3. Pumping Blood (7:24)
4. Mistress Dread (6:52)
5. Iced Honey (4:36)
6. Cheat On Me (11:26)

Disc 2 (47:10)
7. Frustration (8:33)
8. Little Dog (8:01)
9. Dragon (11:08)
10. Junior Dad (19:28)

Total Time 87:04

Line-up / Musicians

- Lou Reed / vocals, guitars, Continuum fingerboard, composer & co-producer

- James Hetfield / vocals, rhythm guitar
- Kirk Hammett / lead guitar
- Robert Trujillo / bass
- Lars Ulrich / drums

- Sarth Calhoun / electronics
- Jenny Scheinman / violin, viola, string arrangements
- Megan Gould / violin
- Ron Lawrence / viola
- Marika Hughes / cello
- Ulrich Maas / cello (7,8)
- Rob Wasserman / stand-up electric bass (10)
- Jessica Troy / viola (10)

Releases information

A collaborative album by Lou Reed and Metallica, based on material written by Reed.

Artwork: Wax Mannequin (c. 1900) from Collection of Werkbundarchiv - Museum der Dinge, Berlin

2xCD Warner Bros. Records ‎- 529084-2 (2011, US)

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and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy METALLICA Metallica & Lou Reed: Lulu Music

METALLICA Metallica & Lou Reed: Lulu ratings distribution

(282 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(5%)
Good, but non-essential (10%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (59%)

METALLICA Metallica & Lou Reed: Lulu reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by VanVanVan
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.


Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by Andy Webb
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.

Review by tarkus1980
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.

Review by Warthur
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.

Latest members reviews

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 a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1867305) | Posted by mlkpad14 | Tuesday, January 16, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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) makin ... (read more)

Report this review (#1172570) | Posted by TerryDactyl | Thursday, May 8, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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 eve ... (read more)

Report this review (#1012940) | Posted by MyDarling95 | Wednesday, August 7, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 we ... (read more)

Report this review (#921148) | Posted by FenderX | Friday, March 1, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#808892) | Posted by kluseba | Thursday, August 23, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#744496) | Posted by elder08 | Thursday, April 26, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 no ... (read more)

Report this review (#579588) | Posted by ProgMetalElite | Thursday, December 1, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 concei ... (read more)

Report this review (#579413) | Posted by Avtokrat | Thursday, December 1, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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, ... (read more)

Report this review (#574728) | Posted by darkprinceofjazz | Thursday, November 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#574659) | Posted by TheMasterMofo | Thursday, November 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#572622) | Posted by Electromagnetism | Monday, November 21, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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