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Bell tolls for Metallica, Lou Reed on new collaborative album

Lou Reed is a hip, possibly pretentious, avant-garde poet who was psyched to get his best friend’s trash metal band, Metallica, to back him up while he threw down some mind-altering lines. The album, “Lulu,” is one of those modestly humorous, mostly quirky YouTube memes — it’s meant to be funny or perhaps just quirky.

This album is the combination of two things that should have never been put together.

“Lulu” is a series of plays written by Frank Wedekind. The plays follow a young female dancer who makes her way through German society via relationships with men. So, the content seems interesting enough, but fails in execution.

Metal music often struggles in creating distinct songs that add variety to an album. It should be noted that it’s this quality that pulls metal fans — it’s intense, loud, crushing music that fans truly connect with. Metallica, serving primarily in the arrangement of the album, definitely observes these characteristics of metal, and in doing so keeps up what it has been doing for nearly three decades now.

Needless to say, the music of this record is filled with face-slamming, heavy-metal drone.

It’s nice to know that Reed’s vocal character has not diminished with age, but Reed is the wrong voice for this album. He has the same knack for songwriting as he did in earlier decades.

I was almost hopeful upon hearing “Lulu’s” opener, “Brandenburg Gate,” introduced with acoustic guitar and charmingly supported by Metallica. It gave the song power and sentiment. Unfortunately, it goes downhill from track one. Reed’s rasp and lyrical prose are not fitting for heavily distorted guitar lines.

The album is almost humorous in its product. It comes off as ridiculous with Metallica backing Lou Reed. Imagine The Velvet Underground backing Metallica frontman James Hetfield.

It’s all too conflicting to work.

Grade: D-

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