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Metallica - "Lulu" (CD)

Metallica - "Lulu" CD cover image

"Lulu" track listing:

Disc 1
1. Brandenburg Gate (4:19)
2. The View (5:17)
3. Pumping Blood (7:24)
4. Mistress Dread (6:51)
5. Iced Honey (4:36)
6. Cheat on Me (11:26)

Disc 2
1. Frustration (8:34)
2. Little Dog (8:01)
3. Dragon (11:08)
4. Junior Dad (19:29)

Reviewed by on October 31, 2011

"'Lulu' isn’t the sound of a mistake; it’s the sound of millions of disappointed fans crying."

There are few moments on history that leave such a strong indelible mark on the world: the sinking of the Titanic, the crash of the Hindenburg, 9/11 and the Tokyo earthquake. It’s safe to add the Metallica/Lou Reed collaboration “Lulu” to those moments that are so horrible that they change the entire world for the worse decades after they’ve happened. This may indeed be the album that kills heavy metal off permanently, and will take all spoken word recordings with it as well.

Any hope that “Death Magnetic” would save Metallica's reputation and usher in a new era of awesome thrash metal was just wishful thinking. I want to believe that “Lulu” isn't real, that I'm just dreaming and that I didn't hear the most horrible album I've ever heard in my entire life. Then I realize that I’m horribly aware and lucid after smacking my head against a wall a few times. While I was expecting a hybrid of “Metal Machine Music” and “...And Justice for All,” what I ended up getting was a mixture of “The Raven” and “Load.” A perfect attempt to redefine heavy metal passed up in a nonsensical mash-up of hard rock and spoken word poetry.

The lyrics are no better, delivered by Lou Reed 90% of the time, with James Hetfield as more of an effect than a member of the band, aside from “Cheat on Me,” which is the only track that he has any sort of real presence on. Reed hogs the spotlight, delivering some truly tasteless and oftentimes pointlessly offensive lyrics delivered from the perspective of an “ass-shaking dark prostitute.”

It’s even worse than it sounds when Lou engages in his self-important, pseudo-artistic histrionics, while screaming “Oh, Jack, there’s blood everywhere,” along with some idiotic drivel about “a colored man’s dick.” At that point, I stopped crying because I could only laugh. That was until Reed decided to utter the lines, “The taste of your vulva, everything on it,” with an inflection that sounds like he’s ordering a pizza. It’s at this point where I’ve stopped taking Reed seriously as an artist after all that he’s done since the 1960's, since I could seriously care less about his sex pizza fantasy.

“Lulu” isn’t adventurous, it isn’t challenging and it isn’t a successor to either “Ride the Lightening” or “Berlin.” It’s Metallica playing a number of repetitive guitar riffs for minutes on end, while Reed goes out of his way to damage his credibility in ways that were never thought possible, by making the biggest profile flop in the history of music since George Harrison’s “Gone Tropo.” Never before did I think that it was possible for Metallica to make a worse album than “St. Anger,” but delivering their most uninspired performance ever alongside Lou’s idiotic lyrics seals the deal. Metallica have ended their careers in such a spectacular way that I’m still trying to fathom how Warner Bros. Records would even let this see the light of day.

And just when “Lulu” couldn’t get any worse, Lou Reed and Metallica decide to release a twenty-minute “epic” that ends with a ridiculously long outro. I had to listen to this album for review and it’s my honest hope that nobody else listen to it and any pre-ordered copies be destroyed upon delivery. No matter what happens to music after this, I’ll be fully content that I’ll never again in my life have to listen to another album like “Lulu.” This is the nadir, where no light can be seen from the abyss. It’s beyond horrible on every level with no redeeming features whatsoever. Even Lars Ulrich’s half-assed drum fills, which try to breathe some life into “Lulu,” just sound just as awkward and out of place as Hetfield randomly shouting, “Small town girl!,” with zero context or respect for songwriting.

Even after softening their sound on “Load,” suing their fans in the early 2000's and not only releasing, but touring for, “St. Anger,” I still remained a Metallica fan because “Master of Puppets” and “The Black Album” were absolutely incredible, to say nothing of the masterpiece that is “...And Justice For All.” Nobody liked "Load" through "St. Anger," just as nobody liked "The Raven." Why Metallica and Lou Reed would collaborate on a synthesis of the worst works of their career is beyond me, and this is coming from somebody who holds "Metal Machine Music" as one of the greatest albums of all time. “Lulu” isn’t the sound of a mistake; it’s the sound of millions of disappointed fans crying.

Highs: I’ll never hear worse. The CIA can at least torture people at Guantanamo with this.

Lows: Nonsensical and repetitive songwriting, terrible lyrics, spoken word lyrics over metal is as bad as it sounds, an end to the legacy of one of metal’s most important bands, the destruction of Lou Reed’s credibility as an artist after almost fifty years

Bottom line: The worst “music” ever made in history.

Rated 0 out of 5 skulls
0 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)