Epic failure? The problem with the newly released ‘Lulu’

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By Caitlin Gardner

Artists who have been in the music business for a while must often go in a new direction to stay fresh. Rarely does this happen two-fold, but Lou Reed and Metallica did just that with their new album, Lulu.

Lulu, a concept album based  the plays of 19th century German playwright Frank Wedekind, is ambitious. After listening to it, however, I feel that a moratorium should be instated for Wedekind plays.

Both Reed and Metallica are influential within their genres of experimental art rock and heavy metal, respectively. but as a pair do not fend off any early criticisms.

Their single “The View” clashes two genres with an intruding result. Reed’s trademark spoken-word vocals involve storytelling reminiscent of his work with The Velvet Underground.

Here, Reed does it with smooth and boisterous music.  The song then, however, transitions into a generic heavy metal section by Metallica’s lead singer, James Hetfield, and that singing takes away any momentum the song had going for it.

When Hetfield returns again to sing in “The View,” he compensates for Reed’s presence with low growls while his bandmates feel liberated by not playing Reed’s section of droning, cantankerous rock.

The album is a misfiring of what could have been an interesting listen.  Reed’s vocals are inconsistent, sounding either straight out of Andy Warhol’s The Factory or like an old rocker in poor vocal shape.

As for Metallica, their contribution seems stale, a lesser version of older, better Metallica albums.

Lulu will either go down in deserved infamy, thanks to nearly 20-minute songs like “Junior Dad,” or get swept under the rug and forgotten.

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