Review: “Lulu” Featuring Lou Reed & Metallica [2011]

Lulu is the brand new psychotic, experimental, and deeply disturbing new side project from heavy metal legends Metallica and Velvet Underground frontman, Lou Reed.  And for some reason, the whole thing works; well, sort of.  Lulu is a two-disc enterprise that is based on two plays written by German playwright Frank Wedekind.

The songs on Lulu feature Lou Reed orating dark poetic verses over clean Metallica guitars (“Brandenburg Gate) or heavy thrash riffs (“Mistress Dread”).  At some point on the tracks, Metallica singer James Hetfield chimes in with an aggressive refrain on the songs’ heaviest parts (“The View”).

Some songs are flat out ridiculous and irritating.  On “Pumping Blood,” Reed sings “Pumping Blood…Pumping Blood…Pumping Blood” over a heavy stomp march riff.  “Cheat On Me” is an 11-minute epic that takes about 9 minutes to kick in.  On this one, Reed and Hetfield ask the question, “Why do I cheat on me?” over and over again.

Metallica’s music on Lulu can best be compared to their Load and Reload sound; this was probably done because it best accommodates Reed’s vocal style.

Metallica fans will most likely despise this record due to Reed’s vocals.  His monotone narrations make Bob Dylan sound like Freddie Mercury.  This will be very difficult for metal fans to get passed.  However, when Hetfield chimes in, everything usually seems to be all right, well at least momentarily.

In terms of Lulu’s listenability, it outranks St. Anger by a mile, but falls far short of Reload.  This is a 3-star album that is worth checking out but it will take time to grow on fans of both artists.

Lulu on Amazon

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