By Justin Stockton
After releasing “Death Magnetic”, Metallica were back on track as the leading Heavy Metal band in the world. They definitely regained their popularity with a lot of fans and with revisiting their older material live, they certainly still had guts. However, in 2011 they pulled a major left turn when they announced an experimental collaboration with Lou Reed and a lot of fans thought this was a bad idea. Finally on October 31st, 2011, Metallica/Lou Reed released “Lulu. With a bunch of long running avante gard metal/rock songs, the album was met with mostly harsh criticism more than “St. Anger” ever had. But I really wanted to talk about this album because its a really interesting and Metallica I will say right now, really had huge balls for making this album. Now lets dig into it.
1.Brandenburg Gate-Opening with some really nice acoustics and very strange lyrics by Lou Reed and then Metallica comes through in the back with some really loose jamming that I do enjoy. It has this feeling that it doesn't all quite fit together especially with Reed's spoken poetry that doesn't quite stay in tune. It is fairly straight forward but will definitely off put a lot of Metallica fans because it does go for that more off beat feel.
2.The View- With a dronning repeating riff in the back, Lou Reed literally just recites his spoken word poetry against Metallica dronning the same rhythm in the background. I actually really like the lyrics to this song they just have this feel like a dictator is reciting them to a crowd of people. Of course James' chorus lyrics sounds cheesy but it has to connect with the story which I haven't quite followed through so it has a meaning to it somewhere. I just think it suffers from a bit of too much repition to be a fully creative song.
3.Pumping Blood-I like the riffs in this song and the violin in the beginning is pretty interesting as well. Lou Reed's voice always puts me off on this song like it doesn't fit at all but it also gives this a very distorted feeling with some really messed up lyrics through out as well. I like the very uncomfortable feeling this song gives off but again it feels just a bit too repetitive.
4.Mistress Dread- I like the speed and frantic nature from this song which gives metallica to give a bit of their feel into the album more. Lou Reed almost sounds like he is slowly fading out on this track like it doesn't feel right at all, and that's what I like about it, that it is so “not normal” it is something very different. Again though, I feel it is way too long and repeats way to much to wear it just blends together.
5.Iced Honey-This song actually has more of a 70s rock song feel to it and is one of the most mainstream songs on the album. It almost has a bit of that velvet underground sound as well. If anyone picked this album up, they would probably like this song the most because it has a sound that is the most accessible.
6.Cheat On Me- I like the beginning of this song it actually sounds like the beginning to a song that is of an entirely different genre, it gives a little variety. The intro is very pretty but also feels very ominous as well. It is one of the more laid back songs on the album but lasts way too long I think, it is a very hard song to keep your focus on but it does eventually pick up even though it takes quite a bit to get to that level.
7.Frustration-The opener on the second disc, this song has almost some weird demented carnival sounds it sounds like to the beginning and I kinda dig it, it has a good atmosphere with almost a Sabbath like riff to it. Lou Reed gets this very panic-ish and almost pissed off emotion in his voice that I like. This song is really messed up and I mean the lyrics are f*king weird but it is also somewhat fascinating. I don't know why it just draws me in because of it's incredible dark nature. Definitely a dark song that I don't think the mainstream public would ever want to touch.
8.Little Dog-This song is another more dark track, with some nice acoustics that I really dig. The lyrics I know have a lot of sub text to them but I didn't bother to study it because I frankly didn't have too much time to. It definitely sounds very depressing as actually a lot of the second half of this album does.
9.Dragon-The most disillusioned song on the album I think, it literally sounds like a drug trip to me with Lou Reed narrating it. I tend to skip over this one because there is honestly not much going on with it but I can give it credit for giving off a good atmosphere and a good main riff to it.
10.Junior Dad-This song is beautiful, I mean absolutely beautiful. This is the one song if I ever have this album out, that I have to listen to. It has a beautiful atmosphere but also sort of a tragic feel to it as well. I feel they could have released this song as a single and it would have been received so much better. The riff is really nice and catchy as well. It just is a great emotional closing song that drones out for almost ten minutes which I think could have been shaved down but It is a nice crafted art rock song, not perfect but it is very acceptable.
Overall, I give Lulu a 4.5 out of 10. Honestly, unlike everyone else who said this album sucked right off the bat, saying it was garbage I don't think got the point of it. The point of this was Lou Reed asking Metallica to be his backing band to his more rational and dark ideas. This is not a Metallica album, it was a side project for them to express more creativity for anyone that would be willing to listen. I was confused when I first heard the album, but with repeat listens I realized that this album has some interesting aspects to it. Lou Reed has a very interesting style of spoken word poetry that is very off putting yet interesting. The only major problem I have with the album is that there is too much repetition and that they could have brought in much more styles to some of these songs which is why I don't listen to this album too much ever because I get bored from a lot of these tracks. Nevertheless, it was an interesting take on a genre that is so far fetched from heavy metal that unfortunately a lot of people didn't see eye to eye with and was largely forgotten even as Lou Reeds very last project (RIP). Next, we are having a look at Metallica's next true studio record since 2008 entitled “Hardwired...To Self Destruct”.
Metallica 'Hardwired to Self-Destruct ' Album Review / Reaction w/ Neil Turbin (ex- Anthrax)