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loureed metallica lulu
Artist: Lou Reed & Metallica
Title: Lulu
Genre: Heavy Metal
Release Date: 28th October 2011
Label: Mercury (Universal)

Album Review

Neither Lou Reed nor METALLICA need any special introductions on any aspect of their artistry. And let me start by stating that their new release, ‘Lulu’ -though it is not among their “official” releases - is absolutely brilliant. Then why so many fans especially of METALLICA reject this album so passionately instead of appreciating it as such? I think that in the last years there has been a wearing off of the social fabric, especially in the aspects of family, religion and relationships. Out of these “holes” what emerged was almost a caricature of these meanings. In terms of music, the musicians took over these traditional roles least because they asked for it. Their audiences referred to them as constants, and as guides of their own lives. This is the reason why in youth’s music the quality to be appreciated most is the one of consistency. The moment the fans categorise one band as let’s say Heavy Metal (in the case of METALLICA) they cannot imagine or even cope with any change due to the fact the musicians are artists. I think this is also the reason why any criticism of their favourite bands provokes knee-jerk reactions; they perceive music and musicians as family members, and at times, potential lovers.

All that apart, as I’ve already said, the album is brilliant. Lou Reed and METALLICA drove their inspiration from Lulu, a theatrical character created by Frank Wedekind. In the theatrical plays, Lulu, is a poor woman who fancies the dolce vita and through sex she will climb up the social ladder in order to fall later on and die in poverty. The plays were based not only on the avant-garde theme at the time but also on the description of the decadence that surrounded the main characters. On the other hand, it would be more accurate to say that Lou Reed and METALLICA drove their inspirations from the film “Pandora’s Box” which itself is a loose adaptation of the theatrical play. Though in the case of this CD Lulu is not portrayed with almost mythical, but surely melodramatic elements as it was the case both of the plays and the film. Their ‘Lulu’ is a victim of her own fantasised demands of luxury and importance in a more ruthless meaning that includes trafficking and exploitation. Lou Reed and METALLICA have managed to offer Lulu a tragic beauty of the kind only Tennessee Williams was capable of creating in his plays about his characters. If you want to connect this release with the previous work of METALLICA you could do so with Bob Seger’s cover of ‘Turn the Page’.

In terms of music the whole CD is influenced by Sludge Metal merged with Southern Rock. It’d be tempting to describe it as Southern Sludge with an emphasis given to Southern. Though these descriptions have their own charm for a characterisation of the music, we should bear in mind that the album is Heavy Metal throughout that is if we don’t stick to a traditional narrow-minded description of the term where the speed of the riffs has more importance than the essence of the music. The whole ‘Lulu’ moves to a slow-to-mid tempo and the voices of Lou Reed and James Hetfield merge in astonishing levels of heaviness, not of the predictable kind, something that makes the sound of the CD even more amazing. It opens with ‘Brandenburg Gates’ where we find the protagonist wandering in the early 30’s through the city amidst the heroes of her imagination: Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre. Yet, the listener is reminded that Lulu is not Louise Brooks in her most famous role, she is a woman who could live anywhere in the world. The tempo of the songs might change according to their subject; for example ‘The View’ has something from the heaviness of the BLACK SABBATH while ‘Junior Dad’ is closer to an almost psychedelic aspect of Heavy Metal and ‘Little Dog’ something from the heavy tones of the Southern Metal.

The focus though of Lou Reed and METALLICA is on their subject story and the tragedy of the heroine. Their music flows effortlessly and underlines both the dead end of her life and the greyness of a world being in an endless turmoil that doesn’t care at all about the individuals. Lulu remains key figure among the anti-heroes, stripped down from all the mythologized glory the cinema and music offered to them- the distortion of the sound in ‘Dragon’ to resemble the brouhaha signifies only her fall in utter solitude. And I’m intrigued in my anticipation after hearing the news that Darren Aronofsky will direct a video-clip for ‘Iced Honey’ from this album. The choice of this director is excellent to give their music the visual representation that it deserves. To sum everything up, the whole album has a special place between the very best work of Lou Reed and the VELVET UNDERGROUND and among ‘Ride the Lightening’ and ‘Master of Puppets’ of METALLICA. ‘Lulu’ is a jewel to be treasured.


01. Brandenburg Gate – 4:21
02. The View – 5:20
03. Pumping Blood – 7:24
04. Mistress Dread – 6:52
05. Iced Honey – 4:37
06. Cheat On Me – 11:26

07. Frustration – 8:33
08. Little Dog – 8:01
09. Dragon – 11:10
10. Junior Dad – 19:28


Lou Reed

James Hetfield
Lars Urlich
Kirk Hammet
Robert Trujillo

Websites / /

Cover Picture

loureed metallica lulu


Music: 10
Sound: 10
Total: 10 / 10

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