Thrash Hits

October 21st, 2011

Album: Lou Reed + Metallica aka Loutallica – Lulu

loutallica lou reed metallica band promo photo 2011 thrash hits

Lou Reed & Metallica aka Loutallica
Lulu
Vertigo Records
31 October 2011

by Hugh Platt

The opening moments of Lulu certainly took me by surprise. Beginning with a surprisingly grandiose build-up, it’s not long before the wild guitar work of the album opener, ‘Hit The Lights’, heralds the arrival of a group of musicians clearly headed for big things. Following this up is the galloping pace of ‘The Four Horsemen’, which not only sets the tone for much of the album to come, but provides a sufficient platform for Kirk Hammett to display his admirable ability at making his six-string sing (even if it is over guitar lines plotted out by Dave Mustaine, the man he replaced). It’s countered nicely by the punkier approach adopted by ‘Motorbreath’, which…

loutallica lulu lou reed metallica album 2011 thrash hits

….nope. Sorry, I can’t do it. I was gonna write a total dick-move review, where instead of analysing Lulu, I was going to write an entire review of Kill ‘Em All. I was planning on playing it totally straight, right up to the final line of the review, where I’d throw out some sneering final comment that listening to Metallica’s debut through nearly two times over would be a far better use of the 90-odd minutes you will spend on your first (and no doubt last) listen-through of Lulu. But I just can’t. Lulu is such an awful, flabby turd of an album, that even using a meta-joke instead of a review – and it’s not even a particularly good meta-joke to begin with – seems wasted on Lulu. I actually feel pretty bad on the meta-joke’s behalf for even considering using it for something as thickly ridiculous as Lulu in the first place.

You can go ahead and listen to all of Lulu right now over on the official Lou Reed / Metallica website, and no doubt by the time you read this review, most of you already will have done so. I’d advise just sticking to the 30-second samples, because not only will this save over an hour of your life, but you won’t gain any further insight into these songs by listening to their full, intended and overly-long “glory”. Experiencing the record in its rawest form becomes an exercise in wishful finger-crossing, with each slow-moving, turgid minute compounding the sense of failure you ever had for hoping that if you listen to just one more song, Hell, even one more minute, that somehow Metallica and Lou Reed might find some way to turn this record around.

In fact the opposite happens – the longer this album drags on for, the wider and more glaring its many, many (many) faults become. At no point does the lumbering, stilted tones of Lou Reed’s vocal delivery ever feel in sync with Metallica’s boisterous backing band pretence. James Hetfield and his comical repertoire of “hey-yeah-hair!”s remain neutered throughout, at best offering up pitiful Lou Reed-imitations, and at worst being left to bellow guff like the already much-parodied “I AM THE TABLE!” line from ‘The View’. Lars Ulrich even achieves the near impossible of managing to make his stickwork seem lazier than ever before, despite the multitude of studio tools that almost certainly were used to improve them. The guitar work of both Hetfield and Kirk Hammett is so tepid that it makes the rubbish dump riffs they palmed off on that Ja Rule collaboration seem positively energetic. The only person involved in this whole sorry affair who get a pass is Rob Trujillo, and then only because he has about as much say in what direction Metallica go in as I do. If you really need any further analysis of why Lulu fails as a record, go read Julian Marszarek’s analysis of Lulu over on The Quietus.

But the critical drubbing that Lulu is receiving – from both fans and critics - is unquestionably a good thing for Metallica. Why? Because Metallica’s fanbase so large and mindlessly loyal, that they will buy and continue to buy any record Metallica put their name to – St Anger sold over two million copies in the USA alone, after all. No matter how many poisonous words that are spilled over Lulu, it will still sell by the truckload. No, the only way to punish Metallica – and the only way to force them to making a passable record in the vein of Death Magnetic - is to hit them where they hurt, and deny them the currency they do crave: credibility.

As anyone who sat through Some Kind Of Monster will know, Metallica hunger for credibility with an intensity borne of nearly 30 years worth of feeling they’ve never been given the proper respect they deserve. No matter that they are one of the biggest bands in the world ever – that the grass is always greener on the other side was never more aptly demonstrated in those scenes where Hetfield and Ulrich bickered over the direction St Anger should take. The entire collaboration with Lou Reed is a giant exercise in ego gratification in itself. When this project started off, you can tell the parties involved really thought they were crafting a masterwork of the ages, a record that would transcend genre-politics and be seen by all as a brave new step in music. That’s why they embarked upon a press campaign talking up this record above and beyond even their own standards of hype.

Given that, the fact that the reaction of Lulu has been so profoundly and near-universally negative must’ve hurt Metallica’s egos something rotten. Apologists for the band are already trying to sidestep the fallout from Lulu by claiming it somehow isn’t a proper Metallica album, and I’ve even seen people making the flimsy excuse that this is a Lou Reed record that Metallica just happen to play on. Bullshit. Don’t give them this escape hatch – their name is given an equal billing on this sorry mess and they need to face up to the consequences of that. I’ve got little doubt that the St Anger backlash is what provoked Metallica into retreating into the arms of Rick Rubin and the mindset that led to Death Magnetic, and if the same can be achieved following Lulu, well, we might actually see something positive come out of this album after all.

There Is No Point Giving This A Mark/6

Sounds like: No.
Top tracks: No.

The Neverending Table by Metallica & Lou Reed


Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/caleb.hyles Caleb Hyles

    I agreee with this review, minus the hating on St. Anger.

    • http://www.thrashhits.com/ Hugh

      There can never be too much hating on St. Anger.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joel-Monteiro/100000479379551 Joel Monteiro

        C’mon, St. Anger is a bloody masterpiece next to this Lulu crap.

      • http://www.thrashhits.com/ Raz

        FRAN TICK TICK TICK TICK TOCK

  • Aliceinchains234

    What do you suggest they do? Write Master of Puppets 2 then?

    • http://www.thrashhits.com/ Hugh

      At this stage, even Reload 2 would be a step in the right direction.

    • I’m a guest

      At this point, I’d say the best thing they can do is drop out of music forever and create an organisation dedicated solely to retrieving every single copy from all around the world of their last five albums by any means necessary, so that they can pile them up neatly in some deserted place like the Gobi desert and then nuke the place to oblivon.

      Following that, change names, get plastic completely reconstructive face surgery, change names, move to Denmark and have a farm until they die. 

  • Lachy419

    Lou has spent the majority of his life firing bullets at establishments that need it most. And now he has pumped a cannon right into the heart of metal heaven. The reaction from you guys is hilarious. Lighten up. ALBUM OF THE YEAR.

    • http://www.thrashhits.com/ Raz

      Cos we’re not having fun taking the piss out of Metallica. RIGHT?!

    • yes a guest

       Or maybe two extremely pretentious entities decided they could shit on a bunch of recording material and decide it’s TOO DEEP FOR YOU. It’s not the first time Reed, Metallica or indeed any egotastic act has done it.

      And of course, it never fails to appeal to those who think listening to that kind of crap makes them better and more appreciative of music than anyone else.

    • Chudderino

       Wow. Album of the Year? Can I sample whatever you were smoking while listening to this pretentious piece of shit?

  • SamD

    I’m just about ready to give up on Metallica, they were amazing at Sonisphere but this album is the worst thing I’ve heard in a long time. Its like they are ashamed to be part of the heavy metal scene or something. 

  • Pippy Owens

    pure shite..metallica should be ashamed to put their name to this.i’m a huge fan but this is the pits.plus they have the balls to sit there in interviews &try & sell the fuckin thing.shame on you guys, pure shame..why do a Big4 tour& go on about ThrashMetal & put your name to this? as for hetfield knocking JasonNewsted for playing music, what a fucking hypocrite..&he has the face to go on about Metal. fuck you wasters..old retards out of ideas & hunger. 2studio albums in the last 14years…enough said…sad sad corporate whores….

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  • poot

    so, did you actually listen to any of the songs?  you don’t seem to review any.

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  • Just Unreal

    My first reaction on seeing “Iced Honey” performed was Oh. My. Fucking. God! At any rate, this is the first time I’ve ever had the displeasure of going from a 25 year span of worshipping Metallica for Master of Puppets, to actual PITY for this absolutely disgraceful, horrifying product. I guess I could add the predictable line that Cliff Burton must be turning in his grave…..AGAIN! and that the rest of Metallica should just leave the man rest in peace, for good, but I won’t. Oh wait, I just did.

    It’s like ever since Cliff died they seem to take a step forward then two steps back. I mean, I know the black album had huge success, but I hated it! Bob Rock just absolutely Killed Kirk Hammett as a guitar player. There was a big clue beforehand that should have sent up a red flag, Bob Rock ruined Motley Crue too, a band that Metallica professes to symbolize everything that was wrong with the LA metal scene anyway. So why ruin a good thing to begin with. And then the whole “We can sound like an alternative band” thing with Load, which wasn’t a bad album looking back, but it just wasn’t what Metallica fans are craving, the last of which was And Justice for All….(pump more bass in that sucker, and you have a product that matches Master of Puppets, in my opinion). I thought they were on the right track with Death Magnetic, the only passable listening product they’ve put out in the last decade, but I’ll repeat it, Oh. My. Fucking. God! I may dislike Ozzy, and I always liked the fact that Metallica were, in fact, TAKING THE PISS, (I’m sorry, but they were) when they toured with him, but I’ve never pitied him, like I do with Metallica now. An absolutely horrific circumstance.

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