Lou Reed w/ Metallica
Label: Warner Bros.
Year: November 1, 2011
Lou Reed is an punk/rock icon. Metallica is an influential rock band. They are also both known for performing with numerous other bands/artists with much success through the years (ie. Marianne Faithful, Bob Dylan, etc.). These are the simple facts so far. Now enter Lulu, a collaborative effort of said icon and influential band. One might expect a creation of pure strength and musical magic. This would be wrong.
Whether it is too much ego on one album, or the two sounds are just not meant to merge, Lulu is what one might call an epic fail. This is rather unfortunate, because both Lou Reed and Metallica are the best of the best, and together they should be unstoppable. Something happened along the way during the creation of this album. Their quest to be grittier and more raw turned into a seemingly pretentious mess, and is at times simply unlistenable. The barrage of noise and ridiculous lyrical banter melds together to create a sound that does not seem to have any audience. It is certainly not up to the iconic, influential standard that is expected.
The only redeemable, listenable song on the album is ‘Iced Honey,’ which is more in the rock-with-a-punk-edge direction one expects from the combo. It does have a nice beat and groove to it, and the lyrics aren’t entirely obscure. Even at that, it is evident that Lou Reed’s voice is not what it once was. True, it has never been a lyrical voice, but rather the rough punk voice that was just perfect for what he created. Sadly, it sounds too rough and abrasive to accomplish what he is trying to do now. As a band, Metallica did not do a bad job on Lulu. They do seem to be a backing band to Lou Reed’s unfocused, delirious attempts, though. It feels as though the band is the afterthought, which may be a large part of the downfall of this effort.
It is proven here, that sometimes artists really want to work together, but just shouldn’t. Epic collaborations can be magic. Or they can be Lulu– a disaster that is heartbreaking and saddening.
[This review is also published at Kevchino.com]