When I heard a few 30 second samples from Lou Reed and Metallica‘s collaboration on Lulu, I was all ready to trash it. I even had a bunch of hilarious jokes and witty lines about how bad this 2 disc concept album is, but then I changed my mind and decided to take the high road and actually give it a shot.
So I headed over to Grooveshark, cued up all the tracks, and listened to the whole thing. All 87 minutes of it.
First off, there really are some truly awful moments. Many, actually. Lou Reed voices the story of Lulu, a dancer who rises to fame, only to fall into despair and destitution. His style is more spoken word, and some of Reed’s poetry comes across as so horrible, you can’t help but laugh. But I wouldn’t use the word ‘horrible’, because again, it’s too easy. ‘Blunt’ is more like it.
But there are moments. The average Metallica fan is going to be pissed that there are no rockers on this thing. The average Lou Reed fan won’t be too surprised. If you know what to expect from Lou, then you’ll know that he’s always trying to push the envelope. Often though, Lou’s voice just sounds like a weak layer on top of Metallica’s unrelenting power. Plus, when James Hetfield’s backing vocals kick in, it sounds like he has Tourette’s syndrome and everyone is too embarrassed to ask him to stop.
Oh yeah, those moments I was going to talk about. If you listen to the whole album, it kind of starts to gel on the second disc. Dragon and Junior Dad properly guide the listener to the end of the album on a wave, almost gently, on a magic carpet of noise. It does work, and by the end you feel relief. Yeah, you’re happy it’s over, but I think the relief is what Reed’tallica intended. Mostly.
Ostrich Picks: Iced Honey (closest you’re gonna get to a ‘normal’ song), Pumping Blood (best comedy track), Junior Dad.
Ostrich Rating: Lulu gets all the beaks and all the internetz we have. They’re all yours. Take ’em all.