The Negative Reaction To Lulu
The suggestion of a Metallica/Lou Reed collaboration has caused more contemptuous tutting than cries of joy. With its awful name (Lulu) and the fact both artists are way past their best (and Metallica are overrated anyway) it is always going to be a hard sell. The teaser trailers, poster campaigns and website launches have tried hard to build up hype, but they have been hampered by the fact the preview material is so terrible. The recent poster, for example, looks like something the Manic Street Preachers rejected in 1994.
Metallica and Lou Reed actually have much more in common than you would at first think. They have both produced highly influential early albums and they have both struggled with relevance over large portions of their careers. Where as Metallica have spent the last half of their lifetime in decline (at least critically), Reed has always maintained the ability to reinvent himself and pull himself out of a slump.
Is this a chance for Reed’s “reinvention magic” to rub off on Metallica? I am afraid that signs so far aren’t exactly great. I think a recent Youtube comment sums up the reaction to “The View” with the phrase “I actively despise this fucking terrible song”. It is awful. It sounds like what Iggy Pop did at the nadir of his career on the risible Beat ‘Em Up, the sound of a sad old man shouting at passing cars. It has no redeeming features what so ever, and absolutely no class.
Despite the unfairness of judging something based on a 30 second clip, I shall remain pessimistic about this release. I feel neither acts fit well together, and I also don’t think Metallica have had the ability to produce anything halfway decent for a long time. As for Reed? He is nearly 70 for Christ sake. What expectations are there left to lay upon his shoulders? I think I shall just stick to my Velvet Underground records for now, thank you very much.