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November 2, 2011

Guest Post: Lulu Review by Juliet Trevethick

Brutal Tunes

Lulu-album-cover-steffmetal-review

Steff: Juliet is a close friend and old flatmate of mine, and when she emailed to ask if she could write a review in response to the overly critical reception of Lulu, I was stoked! For every person who hates an album, there’s another person who equally passionately enjoys it, and I love being able to find something to love about any album. Read what she has to say about this album and add your comments, but remember to abide by the comment policy of intelligent replies only.

Lulu-album-cover-steffmetal-review

Why is this surprising?” probes Lou Reed, as only he can. “An odd collaboration would be Metallica and Cher. That would be odd. Us – that’s an obvious collaboration.”

But I am surprised by Lulu—not only because it’s far, far better than all its critics are willing to admit—but because this completely unorthodox approach of collaborating to create a heavy (metal) concept album, once we’re willing to give it a go, really works.  Some might argue that Metallica have championed a career upon making unpredictable moves, and therefore, that they have been doing this all along, but what Lulu does so cleverly is expose the changing landscape of the genre. I think this is why Lulu has encountered the criticism it has. It has surprised its audience. It does not profess to be a metal album, it does not sit with what its fan base expected from Metallica (the last collaboration they did was with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra in 1999), and Lou’s unconventional lyrics have perhaps upset the timid.

I find that it sits well to think of it as a concept album. The idea of the concept album has been around a long time—think Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, Emerson Lake and Palmer’s Tarkus, Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick, The Who’s Tommy, King Diamond’s The Eye etc…  A concept album does more than just deliver a cleverly marketed theme and narrative, it tells its story through its production values and its aesthetic.

Metallica’s relationship with Lou Reed evolved out of a collaboration for the Rock n’ Roll hall of Fame Anniversary celebrations in 2009 in New York City. The two performed a heavy arrangement of Lou Reed’s ‘Sweet Jane’, out of which, Lars Ulrich ironically recalls, a vague parting agreement (in a car-park) was made to record an album in the future.

The album tells the story of Lulu: a desecrated woman who ultimately is murdered by Jack the Ripper. The story is inspired by two plays by Frank Wededkind: Earth Spirit and Pandora’s Box.

Lulu—I think—serves the format of the concept album in that it literally constructs and then dethrones its protagonist. This is where genre gets thrown out the window—it doesn’t matter whether or not this sounds or feels like heavy metal, rock or alternative, instead the compositions play with the musical features which best serve Lulu’s narrative —the woman whom the antagonists (in this case, the very musicians who play the music) have in their lives met many times. Hetfield smirks knowingly at Reed’s suggestion in an interview, that Lulu is the destructive woman they have all known at some point. Lulu becomes the woman who is vile, wanton and sacrificed, and her antagonists tell her story with a mixture of fear, love, hate and loathing.

Lou Reed and Metallica

Most of all, it’s not important whether this is “Loutallica”, Lou Reed singing with Metallica, or a narrative soundtrack set for the theatre. What’s interesting, is that it is impossible to distinguish between the guitar parts played by James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett, the distorted guitars wail and speak on their own, as though, Metallica have almost dropped their musical identities for the sake of this project. The album is in the favourable egoless position of serving the music rather than the recognisable stylistic moments of each band member. The most obvious effect is that Hetfield only sings on the songs which call for his additional vocals, most notably ‘Cheat on Me’ and ‘The View’ which seems the most like the style of songs which might appear on a Metallica record. Lou Reed brought his lyrics to the table, where James and Lars constructed together–Metallica style–the riffs to accompany the tracks. Metallica’s formal song-writing process ended here, where they recorded the tracks free-form, some in a single take, where all the musicians performed together in the same studio.

Lulu is quite unlike a Metallica album, which they self- describe as being highly produced where every riff and layer, of every song is textured and thought-through, often recorded over and over again.  Lulu’s energy reflects the live recording sessions, where the musicians literally recorded the tracks all together, sitting the same room facing each other: jamming like teens. The result is that the listener can feel the reverberations between the lyrics and the instrumentals. The effect is perhaps hampered a little by the awareness that this is a collaboration of two distinct musical personalities, and may make the listener feel uneasy. But to me, this effect is Lulu’s magic: the disturbing and fleeting lyrical outbursts [Degrade me/ Do you have any waste for me to eat?] , the highly distorted guitars as further layers of inaudible voices are not Metallica’s usual sound effects, but here, they communicate exactly as they should.

‘Pumping Blood’ is a stand out track, both lyrically, and sonically. It serves as the song which signals Lulu’s death with her murder/suicide, and has an incredible lyrical intensity: [Swallow my razors/Oh God/Blood is Spurting out of me/Oh Jack, I beseech you!/In the end it was an ordinary heart…] which builds into a climactic, panicked rush, seeping into a deep depression in Mistress Dread, continuing the femme fatale’s legacy after her death.

It’s quite incredible that after such a short collaboration, the month it took them to put the record together, that the album has such a strong and consistent aesthetic of its own. Never before has a heavy album offered such an intimate view of a female protagonist, let alone through the vehicle of a metal concept album, and who would’ve thought Lou Reed would be the one to do it.

The opening track begins with Lou’s acoustic guitar on ‘Brandenburg Gate’. James singing: [Small town girl] feels as though the song might become a 90’s rock anthem; but then again, how many 90’s rock songs would dare to open an album with the line: [I would cut my legs and tits off?]

‘The View’ in context is appreciatively heavy. It is not by any means representative of the rest of the album, but it is the most ‘Metallica-like’, so I can see why it was chosen as the pre-release single. There is one thing though: I must have missed the metaphysics class where James Hetfield became the essence of the table. (James singing Lou’s odd lyric: [I am the table!] will undoubtedly haunt him for a while.) Based on this, I think the un-heard album was judged far too quickly by critics. You really must hear ‘Little Dog’ which is almost a solo bass line, grungy, and low, taking the listener to the depths of a man’s obsession with his protagonist.

‘Cheat On Me’ feels like a Hetfield composition through and through. The lyric: [Why do I cheat on me?] makes the listener immediately retrospective, as well as being catchy and soul-searching.

And finally, ‘Junior Dad’ is a very moving track (whether you have a broken childhood or not!), layered with an accompanying string ensemble that is weaved throughout the album. It is not until this last track that you really feel their presence, though–the album’s 19 minute outro feels inspired by Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings—the tear-jerking kind that will get you every time. The strings literally disappear into the ether as the track fizzles out, giving the listener the chance to assimilate the brutal story which has just unfolded. It will surprise you—it’s more autobiographical than you think.

Review by Juliet Trevethick

Lulu is released 1st November 2011. You can listen to the album on the Lou Reed and Metallica website. I’d be interested to know what you all think.

38 Comments on “Guest Post: Lulu Review by Juliet Trevethick

Lisa
August 19, 2014 at 12:47 am

First off I would like to say awesome blog!
I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
I was curious to know how you center yourself and
clear your thoughts prior to writing. I have had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting
my thoughts out there. I truly do take pleasure in writing
but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually
lost just trying to figure out how to begin.
Any recommendations or hints? Thank you!

Mike Altrin
January 19, 2012 at 2:13 am

I think of Lulu as art. It uses metaphore and sonic power to reveal something of the everpresent mystery of life. It’s not pretty. It’s challenging and risky, like plunging into an abyss. Art usually tends to be like that. I bow to Lou and Metallica. Their transcendent album filled my heart with soul.

Duckretreat
November 25, 2011 at 2:15 am

It seems pretty easy to bag everyone with internet now running our lives. I liked Lulu because it was different to anything i have heard before but the comments on numerous pages just bagging bands for what would appear to be a sport. Machinehead (while not Metallica) are coping a flogging by us because there new album “isnt the same as the last” Sure Lulu is not RTL, MOP or AJFA but i dont recall Metallica saying this was the next Metallica record. This was just a bit of fun that turned into an album when Kirk let it out of the bag. I think everyone may need to take a chill pill and get on with it. Poor old/young Fadi seems quite distressed (i think everyone gets that he/she doesnt like the album)

It adds up
November 12, 2011 at 9:12 pm

The reason why there is such a backlash from us “just a dumb metal head(s) who can’t or won’t appreciate an “art” concept album” is simply because we know in our hearts that Master of Puppets was an art concept album also, to be the darkest, energy driven album of it’s time, certainly, and to this day stands the some 25 years test of time as STILL one of the darkest, thought provoking concept album ever made. As I put this CD in, I know what’s coming after the highly simple, yet darkly melodic acoustic intro to Battery, I know that the most sudden loudest, heaviest, awe-inspiring riff is coming up, and I brace for it. Yet, to this day. it still terrifies me.That is why we say this album “sucks”, for the simple fact that this album is NOT art, period. It is two former artists (Lou and Metallica) who put out a product that us metal fans know is something that Metallica didn’t even TRY to make better, let alone make any “artier”. All they did is make the most lackluster sounds, and then make some cool black and white pictures with Lou Reed, and try to slap it with a “metal” tag, which, having not ever followed The Velvet Underground or Lou Reed, I wouldn’t be surprised if 69 year old Lou Reed knows what metal should sound like, and probably has never listened to any metal album that true metal fans deem inspiring, or even respectable. So if metal fans follow my logic here, to go from Master of Puppets, or even And Justice for All…(slap some more bass on that puppy, and you have an album just as good Puppets, in my opinion), or hell, even The “too commercial”Black Album (which began the repeated Bob Rock’s absolutely brutal raping of Kirk Hammet’s beautiful guitar playing, and the removal of Lars’ punk style of drumming, which used to be the better norm), to this absolute disgrace garbage wounds me, as a metal fan, deeply. Not only did Metallica take another of their all too familiar steps backward, by now, they have made me feel something towards them I’ve never felt before, pity. That’s why all metal fans miss Cliff Burton so much, because we think he might have been the one to say to the rest of the band “Are you guys out of your friggin’ mind?”

Joshua Russell
November 11, 2011 at 11:29 pm

A 90 minute spoken word album, backed by basic riffs and that? Sounds like Bob Marley, maybe some of youse should try listening to that instead lol. Iri mon

Joshua Seigfreid
November 9, 2011 at 5:34 am

I’ve been a constant fan of Metallica since 1987, i grew up with their music. They are one of the greatest bands out there in music today. Seen them 6 times in concert through out the years. Their new creation with Lou Reed is good but i like some other people cant get around the way lou reed sings or talks in thsi case on the album LuLu. I think that if Lou Reed gave the music to Metallica and had James sing most if not all of it, it would be so much better. …. Long Live Metallca…….

Fadi
November 9, 2011 at 2:56 am

@Josh

You are relevantly correct.
I did attend their live concert after producing St.Anger, it was too expensive for me, I bought an air ticket to fly to a different country.
But WAY I have done this, and why all the attenders have done this too?!?!?
Is it because the picked up Metallica after hearing “St. Anger”???
I can tell you with all confident NO, they came to hear the old albums ONLY.
We came to hear One, Nothing else matters, Master of puppets, Fade to black, Ride the lightning, Creeping death, Sad but true …. Etc but NOT the new crap.
The entire crowed will sing along the old songs, and less than 5% will be singing the new crap, WHY is that? What does that mean?
And if you don’t believe me, please do view any live concert (which now they have tons of them) and you WILL find that this is the main core focus songs, if they do not play it EVERY time, I can assure to you that NO one “or at least 80%” will appear to listen to them in any concert, and this 20% will appear because of the huge propaganda they have.
Can they take that risk and make couple of concerts focusing on St.anger, Death Magnetic and LuLu albums??? Let them do this and we will see the results.
They are picking new fans just like any new band will be formed newly, plus the huge propaganda, ofcourse they will have new fans, but it won’t reach the world.
The old albums have reached the entire world even that time there were no internet, no satellites, nothing, and were looking for Metallica like crazy calling people who lives in US.
Now days with all the facilities and propaganda, they are picking up new fans that “Justin Bieber” have picked the same amount.
But “Justin Bieber” have nothing to lose, Metallica HAVE, and whatever new fans they are getting, they are losing from the old fans the same amount multiplied by 100 if not greater.

Josh W.
November 9, 2011 at 1:11 am

@ Fadi. I don’t think Metallica will ever lose all of there fans, because they are always making new fans. And if you’ve ever watched any of the tour videos on there website, you should know that their concerts are always packed full and usually sold out, and it’s for a good reason too. I think its very cool that almost every album sounds different. So what ever i’m in the mood to listen too, they have it all. Of course i still love the older material more than the newer material (…And Justice For All is my favorite album) but i still think thats is great that they are still around and doing what they love, even with all of the metal fans’ backlash. Just because every new album doesn’t sound like their old stuff, doesn’t mean that they don’t still have talent.

Fadi
November 8, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Can we accept that a band could loss there way or just lose the touch?
Is it possible that a band can lose their identity? or since they have formed themselves = ever after will be an excellent band?
I guess no one can argue this.
Then lets define how a band can be sucked? Or how they can loss it?
First of all lets define and agree that MetallicA:
1- won’t be famous as it is known now if they couldn’t have the huge fan base.
2- And the huge fan base came from their albums till they produced S&M as a final creative acceptable album.
After that we can see and touch the difference, THEY actually wanted to change, even though their name, they came up with that childish new logo and everything is new.
They faced a huge compline regarding the St.Anger album, then for the Death Magnetic they came with a website asking “how do you want us to be?” they asked which logo do you prefer the most, which song do you like the most, which solo did you like the most … etc as if they are a new band trying to become Metallica.
but even though after this they came with Death Magnetic that it was almost empty with no hit track can be mentioned whatsoever, The Unforgiving III was a hit just because of that huge history of the unforgiving I and II.
All what is mentioned above are facts can’t be denied.
Let me intro you a little bit more.
1- Metallica can’t represent themselves anymore simply.
2- They can’t walk of their fans because the fans made them who they are NOW.
3- The fans loved them because they have produced Ride the lightning, Master of Puppets, And justice for all, the black album, Load, and Reload and not because they produced “titanic”
4- Metallica do NOT represent themselves again, they represent the Metal type of music.
5- People loved Metal type of music because of Metallica, its relevant.
6- Those fans are waiting since 1997 (14 Years) for a new album that it have the same identity they loved at the first place.
Now when this band losses their fans that means…… they lost themselves.
Metallica isn’t simply a band for most of us, it’s much more, it’s my idol and icon, it’s a friend and soul, it’s a songs that we hear to face our days, it’s a believe that someone else is fading to back just like me, it’s the dark side of me, it’s my Unforgiving, it’s almost everything.
If they have lost me then they have lost millions of other fans, and if they have lost millions of their fans, then be sure that they have lost themselves too, it’s obvious.
The LuLu album came very weak (lyrically, basic riffs and so much repeats, bad voice, no tune, no music) it’s nothing in the metal world and on Metallica measures.
This album could’ve been made with a different name, don’t break my idol, leave my idol alone do something new as you want.
Metallica should form a band XXXX and join Celine Dion in new “Titanic” version, I don’t care and I won’t mind, people might like and love it, this will be good and I will be happy, but leave my idol alone.
Metallica that I loved is different, it’s not the same, it’s not mine, no identity.
CAN YOU GET IT?

Caleb
November 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I absolutely love St. Anger and was entirely ready to embrace the weirdness, artsy-ness (is that even a word?), and disturbing piece of music that was to be LuLu. Considering I grew to love Metallica through St. Anger, I think I’m fairly used to off-putting music. However, I did not anticipate that LuLu would be nearly unlistenable. Not because the music is “bad” per-se, but because it genuinely hurts to listen to. My ears falter after a run through of Mistress Dread, they begin to ring during the “solo” on Dragon, they make me dizzy after 10 minutes of drone on Junior Dad. The only redeemable (and listenable) songs are Pumping Blood, Little Dog, Iced Honey, and Brandenburg Gate (if only because it’s rather humorous).

bigfootsalienbaby
November 8, 2011 at 11:56 am

I really don’t think it matters whether LULU “sucks” or not. I’m more concerned w/ the constipated attitudes of “fans”, and their acting as though the world might end since METALLICA has done something that they don’t happen to like…

Jimmy K
November 8, 2011 at 6:59 am

Been a Metallica fan since 1991 just as I began secondary school. I’ve really enjoyed growing up to their music but since St.Anger things have really started to slide BIG TIME. I actually quite liked Load and Re-load. They were albums you could kinda have in your head during the day. St. Anger was crap, in my opinion, and when I saw the Documentary i was also really angry when I saw how it was put together.

Death Magnetic was a TINY bit better but is basically a load of really long songs thrown together to imitate AJFO and fails miserably. The fact is Metallica have run out of decent riffs since the Black Album. Load & Re-load were the Black album rejects.

Lulu isn’t worth talking about. Total waste of CD space. I’d rather buy a blank CD.

Gokhan
November 7, 2011 at 11:22 am

Well, simply it is not a usual Metallica style (most of the songs even not sang by James) so kind’a boring..

asssfdfef
November 7, 2011 at 10:33 am

I’m sorry, but this ‘album’ is just terrible. There is no way around it. This isn’t just bad for metallica or reed, this is honestly just some of the worst music I’ve ever heard. Badly phrased, spoken-word poetry over throw-away Metallica riffs that wouldn’t even have made it on to the b-sides of a St.anger-esque type project. This is just awful. Somewhere right now James Hetfield is thinking ‘Mulligan.’ Metallica should have done all of these songs instrumental and just released it for free on their site if they felt like being creative. Yikes.

sowhat mag
November 7, 2011 at 12:05 am

Happy ti teaser SOwhatmag’s crew is not alone, not so we could have imagined. lulu is album of the month. Jeff

Grant
November 6, 2011 at 9:14 pm

I listened to this whole album, and it was a chore. of metallica’s 3 worst albums, (load, reload, and st. anger) i have been able to find some positive aspects or a track or two that i found enjoyable. Lulu was a drag to listen to, it was like a bad car crash, even though you knew it was terrible, you cant look away. the lyrics were either to straightforward and graphic (and shitty) or made no sense. Lou’s voice drones and drags on, and doesnt add any texture to an album that sorely needs it.

Juliet (Review Author)
November 6, 2011 at 8:14 pm

I don’t think we have to call it anything–either by genre, or rate it by success.

The musicality and the intent of the musicians bears no relation to its relative commerical sucess. If Metallica have made an album they’re proud of, they wont care if the sell 300,000 copies in the first week, instead of 800,000. And honestly, that’s not the point.

In a world where music is overcommericalised and dependent on radio play, this group of musicians had the guts to make something ‘old school’ that reflects what might have been created back in the 70’s when concept albums were more popular. Frank Zappa couldn’t even get a record deal. He had to go out and tour to create a fan base. Pete Townsend’s ‘LifeHouse Project’ was ditched because he couldn’t even convince his strung-out bandmates it was relevant. Concept albums have never sat well with audience’s of their time.

As for ‘spoken words’–back in the 14thC this was premiered as a concept in opera and classical music called ‘recitative’. Reciting poetry along with music, or speaking instead of singing is not a concept developed by Lou Reed at all. Perhaps instead, it could be argued he’s renewing it in 2011.

Unforuntately, it has become trendy after the aftermath of bad reviews for Lulu to hate on this album. I’m only asking people to think for themselves.

Donfelipegonzales
November 6, 2011 at 5:09 pm

This album, as the last 20 years Metallica albums, is seen as horrible, useless, etc… But we recognise Metallica by it’s never changing attitude : They experiment. On “Ride the lightning” and “Master of Puppets”, there was classical guitars intros. On “…And Justice for All”, they introduced never ending songs (very very long songs) with big polical content (Pantera will follow later). On “The Black Album”, they tryed to get classical heavy metal and strange noises (riffles, all kinds of drums…) married, on Load and ReLoad they introduced a bit of jazz, country in the strong heavy metal thing… Metallica has a passion, music and as true musicians they cannot stay in a musical style without trying to improve. The only album in which there was no improvement was “Death Magnetic” (even if it was an excellent one). Of course every Metallica fan is shaken by this new experience, but I don’t remember listening to a Metallica for the first time and burst in extasy. It has always been for me an experience to live. I have always felt their album grow in my mind and the music become mine, day after day, after understanding the feelings and the meanings it had for me at that moment of my life. I thank Metallica for the experience they propose us. I thank Metallica to try. As Jimy Hendrix or Elvis in their time, they are shoking. In those past times, the parents were shoked because their hears were used to simpler, softer, “cleaner” music. Metallica shoks their 1980’s fan. Don’t expect anything of Metallica or any other artist ! There are not there to give something expected !
People (fans) says that Metallica makes album to make money. I read a post saying “Lars, don’t be afraid, nobody’s going to steal the album on napster”. Hey ! This band give for free album on the internet, they take risk to give us something new and exciting !
To conclude this long text (in an english that I find hard to master, sorry for the anglophones!), I thing that every body (that has a taste for Metallica) should listen to the music, more than once. If you want to like it, you have to forget the bad comments, and let the music make you travel. Lou Reed is not heavy metal band singer, he is a storyteller. “LuLu’ is not a classical heavy metal album, it is an essay, a piece of art to be tasted.

Aarias
November 6, 2011 at 9:30 am

Incredible that someone would rate this album as a success… as an experiment it accomplishes what one would assume was their original goal of making a statement and polarize opinion. It is like going to a freak show and being amazed by the two headed bearded woman… You pay to see her out of curiosity but you don’t want her to go to your house and live forever with her, you feel impressed, feel sorry for the person and go back to your house feeling empty and dirty. That’s what ‘Lulu’ is, a freak-album that will make you uncomfortable but once you listen to it, you will not want to hear it again in your whole life.

As a freak-experiment it works, as a music album it fails miserably.

Joe
November 6, 2011 at 8:12 am

To accuse Metallica fans of being narrow and not open to new ideas is ridiculous on it’s face and invalidates the entire rest of this reviewers premise. Metallica fans do not look for predictable expected music. Those of us who have been fans since Kill Em All are not only used to the idea of not knowing what to expect from these truly innovative and ground breaking musicians, but we embrace it more than any other band’s fan base.

Having said that, this album is not the biggest piece of trash every recorded by anyone because it deviates from what we expect, it is simply unlistenable. There is nothing on here that makes me want to ever hear it again. I too had the experience with most Metallic works of not understanding it at first, and found that I would have to listen to it several times before getting it. But at least with all of their previous works, I found the compulsion to listen to it again and again until I realized, “holy cow” I really love this. This record does not make me want to listen to it at all. St Anger at least made me want to listen to it a dozen times the first night to see if I “got it” I never did and still think it’s their worst album until this came out. This one doesn’t even make me want to listen to it again.

Another thing critics need to understand is that just taking a risk and doing something different does not necessarily equate to being brilliant and innovative. Sometimes people doing something different and it just sucks, no matter how well intentioned or creative they may have tried to be. This is the case here. While I might applaud the effort, the product is simply garbage.

There will no doubt be a small minority of people who convince themselves to like this and claim the intellectual and artistic high ground to claim they are the only true fans or the only ones smart or cool enough to get it. But that sort of artistic snobbery is usually reserved for those who are so self delusional and impressed with themselves that they fall for the belief that the Emperor’s new clothes really are just too brilliant for the normal people to see.

I hope this is some enormous joke that Metallica will come out in a month and say, that they just put that out there to see how many critics would fawn all over it to make fools of themselves. But alas I think Metallica themselves have become victims of their own egos and think that because they are brilliant musicians, that everything that comes from them is brilliant. Unfortunately this is not the case and every brilliant artists still shit out crap like everyone else. It’s just that most people are smart enough to know when that happens. And this is a case of massive explosive diarrhea.

Fadi
November 5, 2011 at 9:53 pm

@steff
I don’t like when you call it “easy listening” just like if I couldn’t get it. While this album is a combination of basic riffs that it’s repeated for 90 minutes and the lyrics are too weak and exposed and Lou is in a different room reading/“singing”.
So if you are these material fan then it’s fine with me, this is your own test, good for you, but don’t call others “easy listening” as if the album is a very hard and others who found it suck they are weak listeners, NO it’s because the album is weak, and you like weak music then that’s why you like it, and am totally fine with it.

steff
November 6, 2011 at 12:35 pm

@Fadi – I apologise. I had no intention of making it sound like you didn’t get it. (reading back over what I wrote I can see why you thought that, but it wasn’t what I meant at all).

Whatever I write is based on the context of my site and my core readers, who are all metalheads. Most of them listen to metal 80-100% of the time. I don’t think Lulu is a metal album – I consider it a spoken-word album with an interesting musical arrangement. For many readers, myself included, this is one of the first spoken word albums I’ve actually sat down and properly digested. It doesn’t roll out a catchy melody, not like bands like Iron Maiden, Amon Amarth, Accept, Saxon, Arch Enemy … It has a polarising sound, in the same way black metal and other extreme music does – and therefore appeals to a much smaller group of people. That’s all I meant.

Joshua Russell
November 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I believe that it was a good idea, but Judas Priest did it better with ‘Nostrodamus.’ I may get it if it turns up cheap.

Fadi
November 5, 2011 at 1:52 pm

are you for real? are we the fans just found it sucks just because the media found it sucks? why we didn’t suck megadeth album? hmmmm interesting.
and because of that you found it great album and you loved every second?
Its strange that my lulu album review is matching amazon review literally, even thought I don’t know amazon website and I don’t use it, how could that happen? there is only three options:
1. maybe because am syncing with the reviewer on amazon wirelessly by a global satellite network
2. some aliens is feeding us the information.
3. another fact, that this album do really SUCK like hell

steff
November 5, 2011 at 9:40 pm

@Fadi – the wonderful thing about music is that its subjective. What some people like, others find horrible, and some people think is just OK. Juliet – the reviewer – enjoyed Lulu. I think it’s OK – some songs are excellent, others not so much – and you find it suckful, and so do a lot of other people. That’s cool, too. I wouldn’t exactly call it an “easy listening” album, so its bound to not be to many people’s tastes. The fact that a reviewer has a different opinion to you doesn’t make her wrong – it makes her a person with her own tastes and opinions.

bigfootsalienbaby
November 5, 2011 at 6:12 am

Great review! I agree that LULU is a concept album, and I believe that the themes and characters are far more important than the artists themselves. This needs to become a musical film by Aronofsky! I’ve listened to LULU every day since its debut on the website, and love every bloody second of it! Of course, the conventional media / “fans” hate LULU utterly (just check out the reviews on AMAZON.COM for instance). Thank god! This convinces me beyond doubt that LULU will stand the test of time…

Joshua Russell
November 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm

I reckon it depends if you smoke dope or not. If you smoke dope you will like it, Metallica have sucked for ages, so they might as well all fuck out on drugs together and retire.

Fadi
November 4, 2011 at 7:34 am

Josh, what did you like in the album? vocal, lyrics, guitar, solos .. etc.
can you rate each one separately? since you are already got the album and you understood it and you are hard rock/metal expert fan?

NoName
November 4, 2011 at 5:07 am

Worst album ever… even without Lou Reed the album sucks!

Josh
November 4, 2011 at 3:10 am

Very Nice review. I am a huge Metallica fan and i love everything that they do. I do also really like this album. When i first heard the 30 second preview for “The View”, i was anxious to hear more. I didn’t really quite understand what i had just heard. It was pretty heavy but very poetic. The “singing” was different. It had Metallica’s signature metal sound to it. But there was a new element to the music. That element was Lou Reed. I had not really heard Lou Reed’s music before, besides a couple of Velvet Underground songs. So i was not really familar with his style, or vocal style that is. But this intrigued me. When i first heard the whole song (The View) I didn’t really like it that much. But it was so weird and different that i listened to it again and then again, and it grew on me. Now i love it, just like i love the rest of the album. From the opening chords of “Brandenburg Gate” to the last note of “Junior Dad”, i am just in awe at this rock n’ roll, art rock masterpiece. Most metal heads won’t get it, and maybe even some Lou Reed fans won’t understand it. That being said, I understand it and i enjoy it (well i understand it as much as i can understand it, if thats makes sense). It take’s a lot of courage and determination to put out a record like this, especially when your a very well known hard rock/heavy metal band (or Metallica) I do hope that this album does some good for there careers and not bad like St. Anger did for them. (I do like St. Anger too) Both Lou Reed and Metallica derserve it in my opinion.

Fadi
November 4, 2011 at 1:53 am

Let’s put it this way, this album is a combination of:

• Inspired by a Germany play “inspiration”

• Metallica “music”

• Lou Reed “vocal”

• Lyrics “lou impersonation lulu character”

And am a metallica fan, am not a fan of the play nor lou, so ofcourse I have a certain expectation.

And if this album hasn’t involved lou and metallica as artists then I won’t think that a review will be made in the first place, If lulu album is made by “X” and “Z” fresh artists inspired by the same play then this album won’t be even reviewed by anyone, and we wouldn’t have this conversation in the first place.

I guess these are facts that we can’t escape.

How did I become a fan of metallica in the first place? Because they play metallica way not black Sabbath way, they are unique, I won’t hear a megadeth song and metallica song and mix between them. So each one is unique; then I can’t hear “Master of Puppets” and “One” as songs and then say “they are a copy past songs, no difference” each song is a unique, but yet these two songs have reached and fulfilled some exceptions of metallica way of singing composing and playing.

Back to lulu album, lulu album have many variant that it hasn’t been tuned to anything, the lyrics is “cut me cut me please cut me now”, lou is singing in “his own” way and yet trying to become more creative by adding extra ordinary touch to become something unknown, metallica trying to fit in these two strange fixed elements, and yet also metallica is trying to become more creative and new to become also unknown.

If you listen to the album without reading the label, you might know lou from his really unique ugly voice, but you wont tell the lyrics is inspired from that Germany play, and you won’t know that metallica is playing behind.

If you can’t tell this then for sure metallica have lost its music identity and they become unknown.

Sandy
November 3, 2011 at 9:05 pm

for me and me alone. My nightly bedtime stanza. Start to finish, can not sleep until the final strings of Junior Dad wine out. Only then do I sleep. In a few short days it has become my obsession. Yes, it is my new “Wall” other music I savour for myself. I feel emotion throughout this album. My heart races, muscles tense, quite the rollercoaster, especially when the Hetfield voice rings out or the “Snakebyte” riffs. Raunchy and beautiful, bought it at midnight my usual 30 minute drive home took the whole album. Slowest drive I ever had and I will never forget it! Love it, great job by the “Artists”. Thank you for something NEW, BEAUTIFUL, and HEAVY

Alan
November 3, 2011 at 8:03 pm

I have been a Metallica fan since I was 13 years old and first heard the black album. However, I have not followed Lou Reed at all. I don’t dislike his music, I just had never discovered him until now and have never heard any of his songs except for a few that are played on my local classic rock station. I heard “The View” and, like many others, was taken by complete surprise. At first it really rubbed my ears the wrong way, but I was determined to figure out what was trying to be done with the music, so I took an evening and listened to the song 21 times back to back. Finally I got it and understood. It took me to a place that classical compositions usually only take me to. The song has so much meat and strength to it. The next day I listened to the song another 13 times just because I wanted to. When the whole album was released to listen to, I played it over and over through my headphones while I worked at my desk. It opened up my mind. I will admit, liking this album took a great deal of work and patience, but it was worth it, like any great art is worth it, something most of the critics need to start doing. History will show Lulu as one of the greatest and most influential works in Rock n’ Roll.

What are we Analysing
November 3, 2011 at 8:02 pm

The merits of Metallica and Lou reed are being endlessly debated, but what about the subject(s) of the album? Isn’t this what we should be analysing? I think a lot of the debate has been superficial and infantile and suggests a lot about our fixations with idols (is this a theme of the album?). Specifically, our societal expectations of roles and how we find it difficult to except evolution in our established icons (is this a theme of the album?).

The subject matter of the album is disturbing but not unknown. The themes of sex and exploitation, power and degradation, self worth and self destruction, the searching and the questioning are enduring and universal. In this case, the manikin that where’s these clothes is Lulu.

The journey of Lulu is analogues with many of todays popular themes in media, particularly the storylines of an endless array of TV shows dealing with murders and how they came about. Most people will be able to list numerous movies that are quite explicit in these themes too. It’s this aspect that I find most puzzling about many reactions.

We are prepared to except these themes via an “accepted medium” but otherwise find it all disgusting and repulsive. Do these mediums give us a comfortable feeling of legitimacy that allows us to validate and justify our voyeurism? After all if it’s on TV it must be OK right? If Metallica and Lou Reed tackle these themes it’s pathetic. Why is this?

Fadi
November 3, 2011 at 7:41 pm

if LuLu isn’t a sucks album, then what is?

John
November 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I wasn’t at all surprised by the greatness of this album or the over-the-top venom by critics and the “give me what I expect or I’ll feel ripped off” public. Lou himself said that “Berlin” nearly ruined his career and that he made “Rock and Roll Animal” to “make up” for it. Now, of course, “Berlin” is seen as genius (and rightly so-although almost forty years late.) No true artist should be held to public expectations. That’s for butchers and cab drivers. An artist must grow and change or he/she ceases to be an artist.

Thanks, guys. I was at my local music store waiting for it to open and got the first copy. They ordered forty and I was told from the calls they’d received prior to release, they’d have to double their order.

By the way, are you sure that Philip Glass didn’t help out on “Junior Dad”? One of the best songs ever-period.

Travis
November 3, 2011 at 11:55 am

Good review. Most people can’t wrap their head around Lou’s voice. Whatever. I like the whole piece. I agree with what you wrote. I have been looking for some interpretations of Lulu and all I read is how people think it sucks. Lulu is cool. Really dark.

reaper
September 6, 2014 at 11:02 am

I couldn’t agree more.

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