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Lulu by Lou Reed and Metallica

Warner Bros.

By Brian Baker · November 30th, 2011 · Short Takes
Attempting to critique Lulu, the new Lou Reed/Metallica collaboration, is a little like taste testing a vodka-flavored breakfast cereal; comparing it to either vodka or breakfast cereal is unbalanced because the combination is so mismatched. Both artists come from extreme backgrounds — Reed as an avant-garde sonic artist, Metallica as Thrash Metal welders — and because of that, Reed and Metallica open themselves up to criticism, from the mainstream for going too far and from their respective fan bases for weakening their purity with an outside element.

Both camps have a point.

Lulu opens promisingly enough with “Brandenburg Gate,” featuring Reed’s spoken/half-sung vocal stylings and a muscular Metallica soundtrack that vibrates with familiar intensity. The formula wears thin fairly quickly, as Metallica’s speed riffage outstrips Reed’s poisonously somnambulistic poetry readings. When it gets arty and quiet (or arty and loud), the flaws of the pairing come into even sharper relief (“Cheat on Me,” “Little Dog,” “Dragon”). “Junior’s Dad” seems to come closest to paying off the concept — until it drones its way into a 20-minute exercise in artless meandering that makes Fripp/Eno’s ’70s experiment seem like a Cars single. 

Lulu clearly shows flickers of the potential for Reed and Metallica to create something exciting, but this one-spin-for-the-experience hate-fuck is not it. Grade: D



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