I have no interest in reviewing Lou Reed and Metallica’s Lulu. As far as I’m concerned, the definitive takes on it have already been written by Chuck Klosterman and Alee Karim, so there’s no need for me to try and analyze it further or attempt to offer any clever insight. However, I do have a few things I’d like to get off my chest now that this turd record has been officially committed to plastic and unleashed upon the masses.
Lulu is so bad that I can’t believe it’s real. It fascinates me that something this bad actually exists. If I went to my local Best Buy and plunked down the $9.99 or whatever it is they’re asking for it, I could hold this piece of shit in my hand. It isn’t a nightmare, a bullshit rumor, or an April Fool’s prank. It actually exists.
If you went back in time to when I discovered Metallica and told young me that the guys who wrote “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “Harvester of Sorrow” would go on to make Lulu, chances are I would have laughed in your face. Back then, Metallica seemed like unfuckwithable black-clad badasses who could do no wrong. They were gods who’s long-haired visages I plastered a good chunk of my bedroom walls with. Even the sonic abortions known as Reload and St. Anger (yes, I actually like Load and the black album, so suck it) didn’t prepare me for this, and in all honesty, the signs of life Metallica showed on Death Magnetic, plus the Big 4 hoopla, lead me to believe that maybe Hetfield and the gang were on something resembling an upward swing. Lulu has completely and decisively destroyed that illusion. It has smashed it into millions of microscopic pieces with unbelievable authority.
My knowledge of Lou Reed only extends to “Walk on the Wild Side” and a handful of Velvet Underground tracks, so I have no idea how Lulu stacks up in comparison to the bulk of his career. Reed always struck me as one of those artists who will get his dick sucked by the music press (see Rolling Stone) no matter what he puts out, with descriptors like “iconoclast” and “maverick” getting tossed about. If most of his recorded performances are as bad as the tuneless, pervy rambling he favors on Lulu, and I had been exposed to them prior, I probably wouldn’t be nearly as shocked/fascinated by Lulu‘s complete and utter shittiness. Reed sounds like Oscar the Grouch after a month-long booze and porn bender, which isn’t helped by the fact that he’s also starting to visually resemble a haggard muppet.
I mentioned in my comments on Mr. Karim’s piece on Lulu that I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall while Reed and Metallica were listening back to the finished album. I made a similar comment regarding Morbid Angel’s recent shitfest Illud Divinum Insanus, which has officially been demoted to second worst album of 2011. Hank Schteamer’s GQ interview w/ Reed and Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, gives some pretty good insight into the egomaniacal circle jerk that took place. The interrogation reveals what might be the most fascinating aspect of the whole Lulu debacle; these guys actually believe in what they’re doing and think that the album is a bold artistic statement.
Ultimately, what Lulu does for me is prove once and for all that Metallica are human beings, not gods. Metallica are fallible. This should have dawned on me a long time ago (as I’m sure it did for most of you); call me naive, but there was some little part of me that always held out hope through the Reloads and St. Angers and Some Kind of Monsters and all the other bullshit that Metallica has put us through over the years. A sliver of hope that the bad motherfuckers that gave us Ride the Lightning were still lurking somewhere inside these out-of-touch, middle-aged doofuses, waiting to violently claw their way out like hungry lions and bring the goddamn thunder down from thrash metal Olympus. Lulu makes me realize once and for all that those hopes were utterly false.