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Lou Reed and Metallica's collaboration is a head on collision between two trains and the casualties are the ears of the listeners. The first words uttered on Lulu ("I would cut my legs and tits off when I think of Boris Karloff") give you the slight hope that it can only go up from there, but as soon as the sludgy guitar riffage and James Hetfield's almost comical voice spring out of the abyss, those hopes are derailed. Lou's lazy, slurred delivery worked so well in the Velvet Underground and on his solo work in the ’70s because of the droning, slow brooding music cradling it. Reed's distinct brand of street-corner-talk delivery is belabored by the brutality of guitars.

The album is hampered by the failure of either artist to find a common and comfortable middle between their vastly different approaches. When Metallica bends toward the ambient, the sound anchors Lou's voice in a believable way. The music also works when Metallica's assault of guitars is the lone feature. But for the most part, the album is bad, morbid poetry delivered with a fragile voice over high school riff rock amped up to a point of exaggeration. Even when it falls into the sheer silence of Lou's voice alone in "Frustration," we hear lines such as "I puke my guts/ Out at your feet/ You're more man than I/ To be dead and have no feeling/ To be dry and spermless like a girl/ I want so much to hurt you." After the hard-fought slog through the last five songs (clocking in at an hour), my ears said to me, "I want so much to hurt you."

  • Album: Lulu
  • Artist: Lou Reed and Metallica
  • Label: Warner Brothers/Vertigo
  • Songs: (1) Brandenburg Gate (2) The View (3) Pumping Blood (4) Mistress Dread (5) Iced Honey (6) Cheat on Me (7) Frustration (8) Little Dog (9) Dragon (10) Junior Dad
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narly1 Nov. 3, 2011 @ 7:19 p.m.



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