Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Lou Reed & Metallica "Lulu"
When it was first announced that Metallica would be cutting an album with former Velvet Underground frontman and general all around weirdo Lou Reed a lot of people scratched their heads. Personally I didn't know what to think. Despite returning somewhat to their roots on Death Magnetic, I just haven't been a Metallica fan since the "And Justice for All days". And Lou Reed hasn't put out a listenable record in at least twenty years, though you gotta give him credit for trying new things, even if they don't seem to work out so well in the end. So with that in mind, I think most people had already made up their minds about "Lulu" before the album ever saw the light of day. A quick google search of "Lulu" album reviews reveals some of the most scathing criticism of any album since Neil Young went electronic on "Trans" or Garth Brooks started calling himself Chris Gaines. I was strained to even find a halfway positive review of "Lulu" anywhere on the internet. I think Rolling Stone gave it the best review I could find with 3 stars. Though to be fair, Rolling Stone gives everything 3 stars. Site after site just trashed it with no mercy. Every site I went to either gave it an F or 1 or 2 out of 10. Is it possible? Could this album really be that bad? The answer to that question is a resounding no. While I wouldn't give "Lulu" a 10 out of 10 by any means, it's not a terrible record. It's just hard to wrap your head around. A 90 minute concept album based on an a pair of obscure German plays written at the turn of the 19th century about a woman who ultimately falls victim to Jack the Ripper sounds like some heady material and can easily alienate casual listeners and die hard fans alike. But a closer listen reveals a pretty solid album. "Master of Puppets" or "White Light/White Heat" this is not. But I respect these two powerhouses for trying something different. In an age when most artists (Clapton, Springsteen, I'm thinking of you especially) are happy to maintain the status quo, it's refreshing for an artist to put it all on the line, throw caution to the wind, and indulge their inner desires. Sure, Metallica could have put out "Death Magnetic II", but they didn't. They did something entirely un-Metallica. Something they've never done before. An art piece. And they did it with Lou Reed, the original weirdo rocker. I'm gonna call bullshit on all those rock critics and fans out there in internet land. "Lulu" is not as bad as they would have you believe. They either came into it with a preconceived notion of what they wanted to hear or they had already made their minds up that it was gonna suck. Whatever the case they're all full of shit. It's not the album of the year, but it's not as bad as they would have you believe. But hey, everybody's a critic right?
6.5 out of 10
Better than average but not great.