Album Review, Lou Reed & Metallica, "Lulu"

Not bad just different, so the mantra goes, but basically Lulu sounds like Metallica wanting to emulate The Who, Pink Floyd, and other sophisticated rock acts who have made successful records with narratives. Without a clue how to proceed, it seems they have been forced to call in the always marginally pretentious Lou Reed to flesh out their arty inclinations.

Lou, for his part, seems to have grasped at this last straw to clamber out of his bath chair and strut his geriatric stuff once again, but why the 69-year-old decided to steer this unlikely project to the forgotten 'penny dreadful' plays of German playwright Frank Wedekind is anyone's guess.

Maybe he liked the fact that Wedekind's harlot heroine has a name rather like his own or possibly he was hoping to relive his überkool 1970s association with Berlin. Reed does his best to sound poetically leftfield – "waggle my ass like a dog prostitute" he croons on Pumping Blood in a voice that sounds sampled off Johnny Cash's last record – while Metallica dutifully follow up with their trademark growling, lumbering rock that has turned to moss-covered stone since the early '90s. The record has its occasional moments, like the airy riff of Iced Honey and Reed's powerful though demented performance on The View, where he briefly gets away from sounding like he's about to swallow his false teeth to dementedly proclaim, "I am a table!"

Colin Liddell
Revenge of Riff Raff
31st October, 2011
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