Metallica got a new lead singer or Mr. Lou Reed hired a metal band? This might be the clash of the titans, the collaboration of the millennium or a collision and disaster. The first sing released on YouTube, “The View”, in late September 2011, got up to date (and counting) 856,775 views from which 11,433 are dislikes and only 4,050 likes. One user wrote: “You’re know what I can’t wait for ? Willie Nelson and Slayer!!!!!!!!” Clash of the generations and styles? It’s kind of odd, after all these years and attempts of eliminate the genre limitations (in music I mean 👿 ), the audience seems to deliberately refuse any “violation” of the comfortable boundaries. I hear pretty much recently that idiograma “think outside of the box” while our parents, teachers, friends, politician, economists, priests and preachers, bosses and co-workers, the media, the internet (if someone consider it the closest person to him 😀 ), in less words, everybody and everything, pushing us back inside the box. The most obvious example is the Facebook. Instead taking advantage of the multitude of the internet (outside the box), most of the people are staying more and more captive exclusively on Facebook (inside the box). Talking with ex high-school lovers, growing sheep at virtual farms, read the news, giving likes to stranger’s cats or listening music, Facebook took over and for many becomes the internet itself, even further, the home and the family, the whole universe. Our feelings resume to giving – or not – likes superficially to “things” because we’re never leave that place, never dive beneath the surface. Any box is a prison and ladies and gentlemen, don’t matter what, I won’t imprisoning myself by free will ever!
And this is more odd because we’ve got (finally) rockers against rockers. So, what we actually expect from Lou Reed and what we expect from Metallica? Because – isn’t it? – they might be artists, but it’s about what we are expecting. Reed became famous being the guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of The Velvet Underground, although the band were a commercial failure in the late 1960s, subsequently become one of the most widely cited and influential bands of the era. Reed began a solo career in 1971 and he had a hit the following year with “Walk on the Wild Side”, although he subsequently lacked the mainstream commercial success. In 1975 Reed released a double album of feedback loops, Metal Machine Music, upon which Reed later commented: “No one is supposed to be able to do a thing like that and survive.” Reed wrote about extremely hot topics and taboos, exposing his subjects as personal experiences that rarely had been expressed so openly in rock and roll – and not only – , including deviant sexuality and drug abuse.
On the other hand Metallica is probably the most successful metal band ever and sold more than 100 million records worldwide.
Lou Reed’s latest release, “The Creation of the Universe” from 2008, was a double CD, unedited live recording and it was totally freely improvised and without any vocals and song structures and the music ranges from dark ambient passages to noise, and from free rock to electronica. Released under the moniker Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Trio, the project was formed with Ulrich Krieger and Sarth Calhoun to play music inspired by mentioned Lou Reed’s 1975 album “Metal Machine Music”.
Metallica’s “Death Magnetic” was released also in 2008, it was the band’s fifth consecutive studio album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200, and it was certified double platinum (2,000,000 units sold) by the RIAA on June 28, 2010.
Quite different backgrounds for these artists, their career and their music, so, what do we expect from their collaboration? On October 18, their posted on the official site the on-line streaming samples of all the tracks on “Lulu” .
01 â€“ Brandenburg Gate
02 â€“ The View
03 â€“ Pumping Blood
04 â€“ Mistress Dread
05 â€“ Iced Honey
06 â€“ Cheat On Me
01 â€“ Frustration
02 â€“ Little Dog
03 â€“ Dragon
04 â€“ Junior Dad
The conception of the collaboration project began in 2009 when both Lou Reed and Metallica performed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 25th Anniversary Concert.
They intended to re-recording with Metallica various previously unreleased tracks Reed had written over the years and among these unreleased demos was a collection of songs composed for a play called “Lulu”.
“Lulu” is inspired by German expressionist writer Frank Wedekindâ€™s plays “Earth Spirit” and “Pandoraâ€™s Box”, which tell the story of a young abused dancerâ€™s life and relationships, and are now collectively known as the Lulu plays.
David Fricke of Rolling Stone heard two of the songs from the project â€” “Pumping Blood” and “Mistress Dread” â€” in June 2011 and described their sound as a “raging union of Reed’s 1973 noir classic, “Berlin”, and Metallica’s ’86 crusher, Master of Puppets.”
Now that I’ve been through the whole album for several times, I think it might be a little bit more than a simple mixture of genres and styles and regarding Metallica, their fans probably will be quite disappointed because on “Lulu” are not even traces of that raging, furious thrash metal band what made them famous back in ’86. Sometimes the sound is quite crushing Metallica, but the music is at most hard rock.
Regarding the fans of Mr. Lou Reed, some of them probably will accept easier this collaborative work. But not even this is a certitude while most of Reed’s fans (and mf critics) still demand a return to the 60’s and The Velvet Underground.
But the almost 90 minutes of “Lulu” is quite outside the Metallica and The Velvet Underground’s musical area, outside the box.
Weird might describe the best while the music ranges from the angry riffing of “Pumping Blood’s” most furious moments to the gloomy and abstract tripping of “Little Dog”, but most of the songs have their share of both in different proportions. Sometimes this struggle like dialogue works, other times things slipping into bizarre.
“Lulu” definitively is not an easy listening, it’s not a comfortable record, and obviously it’s pretty difficult to handle it with the Facebook trademarked like it or not. It takes time, the 30 seconds preview won’t help much, you’ve got to listen the whole album and listen it for several times consequently. And even then it will be hard to decide if you like it or not.
On the other hand, this is definitively a classic case of love it or hate it. Honestly, I do not know where I sit right now, but there’s no “no man’s land”.
This is quite a bold experience and maybe a commercial suicide. But I’m not so sure. If anybody could sell this, definitively Metallica are capable of. Even if some might think this is… “spermeless like a girl”. Take it outside the box. 🙂
Lou Reed and Metallica – Official Site
Lou Reed and Metallica @ Soundcloud (30-second Preview of some songs)
Lou Reed and Metallica – Official YouTube Channel
Lou Reed and Metallica @ Facebook
Lou Reed and Metallica @ Twitter
Lou Reed @ Facebook
Metallica @ Facebook