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Metallica & Lulu…

May 9, 2012

I sent a copy of the book to my metal author buddy Martin Popoff who lives in Toronto. He emailed me a rather nice compliment: …It’s like all of us just having beers around the kitchen table with the band. Man, like a gathering of friends, band and other rock stars included. Highly readable, totally useful, and a real addition to the Metallica books out there… nice job. Classy design too.”

            While I’m promoting my new book on Metallica, here’s my review of the failed Lou Reed and Metallica project Lulu, which appeared in a recent issue of Fireworks: The Melodic Rock Magazine:


LOU REED & METALLICA – “LULU” (Vertigo)               


The roots of this album were planted in October 2009 when Lou Reed, formally of the legendary New York alt rock band The Velvet Underground, performed with Metallica (minus James Hetfield) at the NYC based 25th Anniversary concerts to celebrate the history of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Naturally they thought there was some chemistry between them so they hooked up together and recorded this now controversial album. The title was inspired by Lulu Plays by Bertolt Bretcht and the lyrics were influenced by two plays (Earth Spirit and Pandora’s Box) written by the German expressionist Frank Wedekind as well as the graphic novel The Raven (published by Fantagraphics Press) based on the classic Edgar Allan Poe poem. Obviously all these influences come from Lou Reed’s avant-garde background rather than Metallica’s.

            Okay, so down to business. While Metallica’s peers Anthrax and Megadeth have recently released excellent albums, Metallica have released not only their weakest album to date but one of the poorest metal albums in recent memory; possibly in the history of metal. In fact, questions can be asked if this album is even metal? Okay, so some of the riffs are merely okay but Lou Reed’s vocal performance is abysmal and his lyrics are juvenile and puerile (“A puny body and a tiny dick.”) There’s almost no melody to speak of and the 10 tracks (spread over 2 discs) are a real endurance test for the listener. Almost every song on this album is incoherent and pretentious. Produced by Reed with Metallica, Hal Willner (Reed, Marianne Faithfull) and Greg Fidelman, Lulu lacks not just consistency but memorable songs. In the hands of a visionary producer, perhaps it could have been salvageable but we’ll never know.

            Not in recent memory has an album caused such a god-almighty backlash as Lulu. Is it any wonder Metallica have recently announced that they have already began working with Rick Rubin on a new album set to be released in 2013 and that they’re planning some concerts (inc. Download) for next year to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of The Black Album? The only way to get fans back on their side is by revisiting their past! Is this really the band that made the masterful Master Of Puppets? Well, Cliff Burton is sadly no longer with us but not even the reviled St. Anger is this painful. I’ve no idea what Lou Reed zealots think of Lulu but Metallica fans are up in arms.

            What’s next, Bob Dylan and Napalm Death? Lulu is an abject failure.

Neil Daniels




One Comment
  1. Nicely written review. I recently caught Lou Reeds live show incorporating tracks from Lulu and in fairness they were fine in small doses, interspersed with Reed and VU classics. Not sure I would want a whole album of it though!

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