Friday, November 11, 2011

Album Review - Lou Reed and Metallica - Lulu

Lou Reed & Metallica 
* out of *****

I will fully admit that I have not been influenced by Frank Wedekind's work and if I had seen the plays Earth Spirit and Pandora's Box perhaps I would have a greater understanding of this album that two "Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame" acts have produced.  That admission stated upfront, it is really hard to get into this 90+ minute double album in any conceivable way for a dedicated listener, let alone a casual one.

Lou Reed has been off putting with his singing style his whole career, at times intentionally so and here he continues that trend while keeping the listener on edge with his destructive timing, caring not a lick for the music going on behind him.  That in truth seems to be the worst part of this collaboration; the fact that very little of it feels like a meshing of styles.  Lulu plays as Lou Reed putting his warped theatrical vision over a backing band that doesn't sound like it knows which direction it is suppose to be going, so they just run in place for a while.

"Brandenburg Gate"  lets Uncle Lou show the kiddies how he do from the first track and it ain't pretty.  That said, Reed has a hard time being shocking in this internet age when exposure to far more horrifying sites are available at a click of a mouse.  Is "spitting in my mouth" really going to get the juices flowing from a generation who have seen, and maybe done far more then that?   

"Frustration" which kicks off the "second act" shows legitimate promise for a whole 2 minutes before collapsing under mixed gender failings and impromptu breaks.   Metallica seems to be trying to stay out out of Reed's way for the most part, letting him go where he wants to and play second fiddle in the background.  Their riffs can get drone-like on "Cheat On Me" but sound very nondescript for the majority of the proceedings "Pumping Blood" and "Iced Honey" included.   They add very little in the way of "art-rock" to Reed's vision, some minor feedback here and some sparseness there, but by the sounding of things getting freaky isn't in their heart of hearts.

The fact that this project even got made is pretty cool, seeing artists try different things, especially ones this established can be exciting...but sometimes when you go out on that limb, it can snap.

Some tracks for Previewing the album, you can buy it here:
Album Trailer:

"Iced Honey" Live on Jools Holland:
Metallica and Lou Reed seem to be taking down all of the album tracks from Youtube, which is fine by me, so instead here they are on Jools Holland playing the Velvet Underground Classic "White Light/WhiteHeat"

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