I’m sure you’ve heard about this Metallica/Lou Reed collaboration “Lulu.” It’s not getting a very good reaction. Of course, Rolling Stone hasn’t chimed in yet to give their obligatory 5 stars to the thing, but any week now, right?
I’ve long, long, long since lost interest in Metallica, but because they’re one of those bands I grew up loving middle school through high school, I always give each of their albums a shot. Hey, you never know, right? Lou Reed historically just rubbed me wrong. He seems awfully pretentious, and his music post-Velvet Underground never turned me on. A friend of mine met him at one of his art exhibits and said he could not have been less friendly. There also was that Spin magazine interview last year. And I don’t want to use the “I just don’t get it” excuse when it comes to his music, because I listen to some pretty weird stuff, so I’ve always been surprised Reed never appealed to me.
The two full songs I’ve heard from “Lulu” make me wonder what either party – Reed or Metallica – were thinking when going full-bore into this project. And again, I’ve only heard two tracks the whole way through, so that’s not enough for me to judge an entire piece of work. But I think I know how I’m going to feel. I’ll certainly listen to the entire thing once I have a copy, because it’s only fair, but my hopes are way low.
Now there’s a way to get an idea of what you’re going to endure when hearing this whole thing. . I’ve even imbedded the player for you in case you want to hear these nuggets for yourself. It sounds really bad. This-is-a-joke bad. Reed’s typical poet-style reading of his lyrics are here, but they just sound like they were pulled from another record and placed over some of Metallica’s least-inspired work. But since most people are trashing this, I’ll try to pull out a few sort-of positives from these 30-second clips. I’m OK with the music to “Mistress Dread” because it’s kind of heavy and fast, but the vocals ruin it. Musically, “Cheat on Me” is a little ambient and droning for Metallica, but I haven’t heard the vocals over it, and “Dragon” has some of the same daring musical ideas, but Reed sounds ridiculous. “Iced Honey” appears as if it would sound better without Metallica behind it, which is sad; “Junior Dad” is interesting until the metal kicks in; and closer “Little Dog” sounds like it’s going to let Metallica get all country and blues on us. “The View,” the song most distributed to fans so far, is really eh. Sludgy but dull Metallica riffing, and it gets pretty bad once James Hetfield kicks in with his singing.
These clips could be terribly misleading as to where the rest of these songs go, so even when I could find some positives, the rest of the package could undo that. I have a feeling a lot of the meathead contingent of Metallica’s audience will think this is the artsiest thing they ever heard, but I have a bad hunch it’ll be the ugliest, rustiest, most damaging nail in Metallica’s coffin. We’ll have to wait a couple more weeks to see if that’s the case.
For more on the project, go here: http://www.loureedmetallica.com/
PS: I just realized you can listen to “Lulu” in its entirety at the site above. Did this just appear on their site recently? Anyway, if you want to hear the whole thing, go there. I’ll do that this week.