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




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2.07 | 290 ratings

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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 fucks 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"

TheMasterMofo | 2/5 |


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