16 April 2013

Metallica & Lou Reed - Lulu

(Updating this blog on 27th October 2013 - sadly Lou Reed passed away today.  In honour of the great man, I am publishing this one again - Rest in peace Lou, your music was fantastic and to me you were fascinating and wonderful - Eddie)

Sometimes, you get a creation which is born to be hated.  They are created when everybody hates everything that comes from a union. Recent examples have included the last Morbid Angel album, Echo & The Bunnymen teaming up with the Spice Girls for a English football (or as the American say (and wrongly - no arguments) soccer) song, Axl Rose doing a Guns N' Roses album on his own or anybody that does a song with Shabba Ranks.  The collective reaction of the metal community when this was announced was in this order - laughter, shock, bemusement and anger, lots and lots of anger.  The album is based on two plays originally written by the German playwright Frank Wedekind called Lulu, with Lou Reed delivering a spoken word performance over the music of Metallica.  With two years after the event and release I have decided to revisit this moment to find out if I still held the album with the same opinion.

I will get the bad stuff out of the way first.  James Hetfield from Metallica should not have sung on this album. He sounds like a little girl trying to sing along with her crazy grand dad over the forgotten war of his youth.  He is just out classed on so many levels - depth, note holding, confidence - actually on all levels he is out classed.  I also want to address one section of the lyrics - which ever of them decided that James singing "I Am A Table" in that tone needs to be introduced to a ten minute session with Mr Blackadder and that pencil.  Produced by the collective forces of Greg Fidelman, Hal Willner as well as Metallica & Mr Reed it is quite possibly one of the weirdest choices on the whole record and it was on the lead track "The View" that this came on.  Maybe they thought putting the weakest track out first would be the way to go.

Now I can move onto the rest of the album; it is either the biggest folly ever or the bravest record ever attempt by a major metal act ever.  Lou Reed won't care; he lost a lot of his fans when he made the album 'Transformer'.  But this album is something different - I can see why people hate it, this is not an easy listen.  You do not put it on to relax on a sunny day with a book.  It challenges you from the opening bars of "Brandenburg Gate" to the almost 20 minute long "Junior Dad".  For me the stand out track is "Mistress Dread" with its frantic playing and word play.  I stand in awe and horror with this album and when it first came out; it actually topped my own album of the year chart.  I still stand by that statement.  I love this album, even with its faults and bonkers' old men trying to reinvent the wheel.  Yet I could not recommend it to anyone else, they might try to stab me.   But I think it is one that all people should hear at least once.  Now for the mark I am using the Chaney symbol.  However, he has asked me to quote the following - "I have not heard this album, I have no intention of ever listening to this album and I will not ever listen to it".  But as he is the marking picture for when an album is unmarkable, you have to do what you have to do.  For once, don't listen to him. Make up your own mind.  It might be rewarding.....

Chainsaw Symbol - when is doubt, always ask Chainsaw

You can purchase it from here

Here is a link to the website for the album

There is no Spotify link, but I am sure the more inventive of you can find a way to look it up - not that I can recommend or condone any of that time of behaviour

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