Lou Reed & Metallica
, October 20th, 2011 09:01
Let's be honest: ever since Lou Reed brought out his Tai Chi master for some muscle flexing as part of his live act, alarm bells have been ringing. Granted, he's always been a contrary bugger but watching someone stretch their legs over their head while Reed croaked his way through 'Perfect Day' was only going to induce uncontrollable guffaws rather than gasps of amazement. Similarly, Reed's decision to trample over his own 'Sweet Jane' and 'White Light/White Heat' with the aid of Metallica at the 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 25th Anniversary Concert was met with incredulity and a sense that we all really were going to hell in a handcart. But surely things couldn't get any worse, right?
Rarely has one record induced such feelings of anger and utter revulsion. This isn't the decadence of chopping a few lines out, getting the nipple clamps on and kissing boots of shiny leather but an exercise in the worst kind of self-indulgence. Lulu's existence is offensive in the extreme. Not because of its sensibilities or mores – Lou's beseeching in 'Mistress Dread' to "Tie me with a scarf and jewels / Put a bloody gag to my teeth / I beg you to degrade me / Is there waste that I could eat?" is more chortlesome than shocking – but because it wastes so much of life's most precious commodity: time. We have but a short period on this earth and Lulu, spread over 95 – yes, 95! – tedious and excruciating minutes simply eats into time that could be more constructively spent watching the grass grow or perhaps wanking into a sock.
For the majority of this ghastly, tuneless work, the protagonists rarely sound in tandem. Over great swathes of the album, the effect is that of Lou Reed ranting over some Metallica demos that were never intended for human consumption. At its best, the effect is that of two records being played over each other.
Were it not for the ongoing po-faced nature of the protagonists, the logical conclusion to draw would be that this is some kind of comedy record but as this turgid collection continues to trawl its sorry ass with all the vigour of an elephant swimming in a tar pit, the realisation dawns that these idiots are pretty damn serious about this shit.
Lou Reed is probably having a right good laugh about it all while Metallica now have a very deep hole to crawl out of. Referring to this hideous mess, Lou has been quoted as saying, "This is the best thing I ever did." Don't believe him. Not only is Lulu the worst thing any of the players have been involved in, it's quite possibly a candidate for one of the worst albums ever made.