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  • Lulu
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3.2 out of 5 stars166
3.2 out of 5 stars
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on 13 January 2014
I was a huge Metallica fan in the mid-80s Ride the lightning/Master of puppets era. I did buy 'Justice' and 'Black' but had drifted away into other things by then, to be honest and didn't pay them that much attention. Haven't heard anything by them since.
This, though, is immense and deserves close attention.
Track 1 Brandenburg Gate got my immediate attention, from the first few urgently strummed acoustic chords and Reed's spoken lyrics, but the album gets much better from there on.
2. The View features an immensely heavy riff, reminiscent of early Black Sabbath to my ears. Surely this must satisfy any metal fan and the purchase price was worth it for this song alone?
3. Pumping Blood is a bit variable. A simple riff with a wonderful whining lead guitar and Lou Reed screaming all through it but doesn't seem to be going anywhere really. With a minute to go it suddenly explodes into classic early 80s thrash. Great.
4. Mistress Dread starts off with what can only be described as a manic, breathless, relentless, thrash assault. Lou is speaking something but quite honestly who cares? It just adds to the mix. Towards the end the riffing dies down then starts again several times. Quite superb.
5. Iced Honey starts off quite poorly - just a real dirge of a plodding riff. Doesn't really go anywhere. Fairly forgettable and arguably the worst track on the album.
5. Cheat On Me slows things down with a lovely quiet intro and Lou repeating 'Why do you cheat on me?' over the top. Gradually the piece picks up pace and volume and turns into a really classy, mature piece of hard rock. Excellent.
6. Frustration. Awesome. A massive riff that my speakers can barely handle. Just a really heavy song, again with obvious Black Sabbath influences. The song pauses at times for Reed to deliver some dark poetry and the tension is almost unbearable, like the band are straining to be let loose before reintroducing the riff again. Awesome.
7. Little Dog provides a nice contrast to the heaviness of Frustration with a picked and strummed acoustic guitar and that wonderful winding/ whining drone of lead guitar in the background again. Excellent.
9. Dragon. Another slightly off-kilter track (the droning lead appears again, which is great). After a while what I would describe as the classic Metallica sound features, with those almost squeeky-clean chugging guitar riffs that they used to have.
10. Junior Dad. For me the clear standout track on the album. Reed singing softly over a beautiful melody for the first 10-11 minutes followed by 8-9 minutes of ambient style strings reminiscent of early Anathaema to my ears. Music for driving through the mountains at dusk. Just achingly beautiful.

Overall, a really interesting collection of edgy songs. Interesting to note the polarity of views on this. People seem to either love it or hate it, with relatively few people who are indifferent and giving 2-3 stars. You simply cannot be indifferent to art. Great art should force you to actually make a decision, one way or the other.
Initially I gave this a five but changed it, the reason being that I felt I had to reserve that rating for the truly exceptional, I.e. the top 5 records I've heard in my life, but nevertheless probably the most exciting record I've heard in over a decade. I'll probably come back and change to to 5 again in a couple of months. I read other reviewers saying bin this and listen to 'Master' again. But we can't simply play old stuff over and over again.
Metallica's best album anyone? To me this sounds like a band at or close to the peak of their powers, just relaxed and enjoying themselves. Reed's rich voice just blends in perfectly. I can't help feeling that 20 years from now critics will return to this and start writing how it was a classic and much underrated release.
Simply magnificent..
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on 6 October 2013
not into or out of metallica as a band, heard very little of their music,would I be interested now I heard Lulu? not really,if I hadn't heard much of the killers before that masterpiece with lou reed would I be interested? definitely yes..but having said all that metallica were absolutely awesome on Lulu.I play guitar ok, but you know when you hear those special pieces of guitar work? to me, it was all over the album, and not a bad drummer too! for whatever reason my pc wouldn't rip the 1st tracks on both cd's or #7 on cd2 frustration (aptly titled) I have heard a lot of lou reed I have got a lot too, and the only way I can explain myself better over this album is to say I don't think the magic would have been there for lou without metallica and I am listening to 'junior dad' and I love it! but I loved the others on 1st hearing also.Not sure if I heard right that its music for a play? (I liked the Timerocker lou did)I would listen to Lulu before a few lou 1980 specials to be honest..i love words and only briefly looked over the Lulu lyrics and hes out there is our Lou, out their on his own for the dirty direct shit-street vernacular, nothing comes close to 'street hassle' and I love the ways he uses his voice with some decent backing vocals from metallica too.I don't know how one lou reed 'fan' who wrote a review I read a good while ago and he done his top 10 or something lou reed albums and he slagged 'coney island baby' off!!! so we all have our weirdosities..in short I will now buy Lulu on vinyl because after reading a lot of bad criticism aimed at it I got the cd 1st..only because it could wait and I bought a nico live lp and velvet underground lp that used up a bit of dosh..LULU 4/5 It is quite brilliant!
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on 2 November 2014
In all honesty this was far better than I expected..I have waited for the dust to settle on this release and now that it's at a price I was willing to risk paying well...I bought it.
In honesty this is far from being the best metallica release and although I don't have too much the bits I have suggest this may not be Lou Reeds finest neither.
That said there's much to like I like Reeds vocal on this a kind of ragged low baritone that spits out words and the only real problem I have with the release is it maybe doesn't deliver its full potential.
The best stuff on this release to my ears was found on the second CD ,despite enjoying metallica I found the second CD less like them eschewing a traditional rock sound and created a more ambient soundscape which suited the material more in my opinion,In fact listening to the second CD made me wonder how much better this could have been if say Earth had been the collaborative party.
Part of the problem I think is Metallica have a established sound which is difficult for them to break from, they have been truly innovative through their career and so have a great scope of sound however this CD fails to reflect this.
There is a emphasis on a traditional rock sound on many of the tracks which I think holds this back..there are flashes of brilliance mind you and it's not half as bad as it's been made out to be.
Fair dues to Metallica too for at least trying this..it was always going to be a hard sell.
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on 8 November 2011
It is a tough album to get into. More so if you bought it with any subjective expectations as to what you're getting. I think a lot of people saw it as a new Metallica album, featuring Lou Reed. Indeed it's the other way around. It is not a new Metallica album, but a Lou Reed & Metallica album. Forget Death Magnetic (fantastic, by the way), because you're not doing anyone a service by comparing it to Lulu.

If you're a close-minded hardcore Metallica listener (if you think I mean hardcore Metallica listeners are close-minded, read it again) you will be disappointed. If you are a music appreciator, an art appreciator, and a Lou Reed and Metallica appreciator, you will need to buy this.

There have been terrible criticisms of the singing, that in some parts of some songs it's out of sync and out of place with the music accompanying it. The whole experience, however, is a tight package of creativity, based on lyrics written by Reed for the play Lulu. I can't stress it enough that this album is something separate the known sphere of Metallica productions, and that is the main thing listeners need to understand and even get past to appreciate this as a music album.

My favourites, after listening to the whole album twice, are Pumping Blood, Iced Honey, Cheat On Me and Junior Dad. The latter two take me back to Velvet Underground's creepy ambient, nearly static croon. I'd even dare to say that Junior Dad is my very favourite piece on this album. I like it even with "those stupid violins that go on for NINE F***ING MINUTES!". Just beautiful atmosphere, great lyrics.
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on 21 July 2015
Finally got around the listening to it, after all the negative reviews... Turns out it is actually brilliant from start to finish! A glorious surprise, and totally captivating stuff to me... I'll be playing this again and again, like all the best Lou Reed albums. Respect to Metallica for getting involved - it's the most adventurous and interesting thing they have done in many years. Love it
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Lou Reed had the kind of voice and singing style that meant he could be set against any background of noise - had he decided to sing with a philharmonic orchestra, it would probably have worked.

Looking through the reviews, this has clearly been a very divisive album. There is plenty of trademark Metallica on here, but ultimately, this is Lou's album...but what a class backing band!

This is an album that needs to be worked at. It is often intense, at times peculiar and sometimes repetitive. the lyrics can also appear to be leftfield. However, as an album it works. This odd marriage of talent has produced something rather unique and as a fan of Lou, I find it curiously compelling listening.

His voice sounds older, at times frail and this coupled with Metallica's driving rhythm can be quite mesmerising.

Highlights for me include 'Brandenburg Gate', 'the rather touching 'Junior Dad'. I found 'Mistress Dread' hard work.

Give it a go, but an open mind is essential and please be prepared to give it time.
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on 8 April 2014
I'm a huge fan of Metallica and always believe in making my own mind up about films/music. Only listened to Lulu once so far, but its pretty difficult to get into - it sounds like there's too much going on and in places, I think its just very weird. But I've never really heard much of Lou Reed's work so maybe real fans of his will appreciate it more.
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on 23 May 2014
The great thing about controversial art is that it divides opinion and fans often have an expectation of their favourite musicians prior to that anticipated new release. I'm not a fan of Lou Reed or Metallica and had no expectations regarding the content of Lulu. I love it but it took a while. Lou doesn't sing but delivers a well structured spoken narrative throughout with Metallica's menacing background rumble. Many Metallica fans might disagree but careful scrutiny reveals some might fine Metallic riffs and Lars Ulrich's drumming is excellent, just one fine element of a beautifully produced/ mixed album. There are other elements that glue the experience. Great contributions from Sarth Calhoun - Electronics, Megan Gould - Violin, Ron Lawrence - Viola and Marika Hughes - Cello. If you haven't heard it you can buy a new copy for same price as a large latte and the fix might last longer than 20 minutes...............might!
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on 4 January 2014
i guess most of the negative reviews that you can try to read over here must come from metalica fans.
First of all, i am a lou fan. & i have to admit that i have never heard a complete metalica song, though i have met some of their fans.
& that has been enough. some years ago they were queen fans, then they were ac/dc fans, then they were rem fans, now most are iphone fans....
isn't that funny? ha ha ha...
when i first heard this double vinyl, i didn't really get to understand it, or even really like it.
(maybe the metalica fans had something to do)
but, now that i've grown up; i gotta admit that this album is essential, totally...
just sit down, relax & simply enjoy it. it'll grown on you, slowly, very slowly, but firmly....
it's amazing how lou totally sick & about 69 years old can still place a stick where it fits.
it's great how many people hate this record, just like another life circle...
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on 11 August 2015
This is not a Metallica album. It is a Lou Reed album on which Metallica provide the backdrop. It's a challenging listen; lyrically it didn't make a lot of sense to me, but at least you can hear the words clearly and Lou sings with commitment, like someone who feels strongly and passionately about whatever it is he is on about. There are moments of heavy riffage, moments of repetitive rambling, lyrics that some might find offensive and moments which in which the voice and the music blend in a thoroughly satisfying way. It reminded me of Sonic Youth in some ways, a band that I love. It is an album that needs to be listened to rather than just played in the background. Try it when alone on a long car journey with the volume up and you might enjoy some of it.
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