Belonging to the same generation of pop & rock stars, Lou Reed made, perhaps surprisingly, a more conventional choice when he was looking for a partner for his Lulu-project: the boys from Metallica. Creator of repertory that's considered by many as the Holy Grail of Heavy Metal, this collaboration with the former member of the Velvet Underground was received with both disbelief and expectation. Announced as Berlin meets Master of Puppets. As a result, Lou Reed even received death threats from Metallica fans who blamed him for destroying the career of their favorite band (did they really need Lou Reed for that?).
Announced as "Berlin" meets "Master of Puppets"
The result is a poetry-slam over a metal jam. It milks out a few good ideas in songs that are in need of a good edit. It sounds like something that is stuck in pre-production. In a way it is the worst of both worlds and Reed, even by his standards, sounds off-beat and detached. But then, was "Berlin" not the same kind of monster? A singer who is losing himself in songs that, very often, are lasting too long. A shortcoming also Metallica-songs tend to suffer from. And Reed, being his own book, with that unique voice that tends to nag if you don't have a taste for it. Lulu is very much a Lou Reed-record. Don't try to make it through this album searching for "Ride the Lighting" and "Master of Puppets"-references because you will find nothing here but the title of the album-song "Frustration" closing in on you.
In a way "Lulu" is like watching an accident waiting to happen. Reed rhymes and Metallica plays. And more than once the rhyme master is losing it when the band puts the pedal to the metal
Compared to the Lulu of Louise Brooks and that other incarnation of Frank Wedekind's brainchild, in Alban Berg's opera, Reed's portrayal of this femme fatal is by far the most one-dimensional. His Lulu drives solely on anger and frustration and it's hard to see why she attracts men in the first place. Her death comes only as a salvation. We are not challenged to sympathize with or feel anything for her.
David Bowie thought "Lulu" was Lou Reed's best effort. Up there with "Berlin"
For what it's worth, David Bowie thought "Lulu" was Lou Reed's best effort. Up there with "Berlin".