Lulu - Lou Reed
User Score

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 155 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 155

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  1. Nov 1, 2011
    I've seen several comments online where bloggers say we "don't get it". Anyone who says this is avant garde music has little experience with that genre. Dangerous, abrasive and compelling are all hallmarks of avant rock. This is just an embarrassment made by two creatively bankrupt artists. Please stop your Metallica hero worship and hear this album for what it is: Crap.
  2. Nov 1, 2011
    If this album was listened to without knowing who the artists were you would think it was a 4th rate garage band made up of 17 year old high school students spewing forth really bad teenage poetry!
    I am all for trying new things and pushing the boundaries but sometimes you have to know when to pull back and review your art objectively.....this i'm afraid is just an exercise in self
    indulgent narcissism by musicians who are obviously bored.....probably shouldn't have been released because i can only see it hurting their brand! Expand
  3. WD2
    Nov 1, 2011
    The only saving grace for this album may be that it is not the worst album of 2011; Theory of a Deadman already clinched that honor back in the summer. But Lou Reed's nasally delivery just doesn't fit, it comes off as some uninspired old fart recording his voice in the living room while a metal riff plays in the background. As Allmusic wrote, this would have worked far better with an ambient band such as Sunn 0))) than with Metallica. Expand
  4. Mar 26, 2012
    I remember listening to this album for the first time and literally laughing. I thought it was a joke, I hope it is, because if Lou Reed and Metallica seriously thought this was a good album then they BOTH need to hang it up. Terrible lyrics, horrible vocals, flat melodies, uninspired riffs, just about every misfire in the book is present on Lulu. I am giving it a 1 because, as I mentioned, it made me laugh, and that has to count for something. Expand
  5. Nov 1, 2011
    As I've gotten older I've found my tastes and .. acceptance of things outside my comfort zone (music, philosophy, etc) growing as my views of the world in which we live change. The key to getting enjoyment (or understanding?) out of Lulu, for me, is to accept that I have to listen to it on it's own terms. Listening to it as a Metallica fan, a metal fan, a music fan, will lead to listening to something that on the face may seem unlistenable. My impression of this album has grown considerably since first listen. Last night was the first time I actually sat down, and listened to it cover to cover. Honestly, I was kind of dreading its darkness and it felt like I had to do a homework assignment. So, I grabbed my best headphones, and set into it. I think a key thing I did was I pulled up the lyrics to each song online as I listened and followed closely along. I think that really helped put me into the music. They've always said the lyrics are the key, the music augmentation and manifestation of the feeling of those lyrics. Lyrics aren't really the correct term, it's more spoken word poetry than anything. As far as Lou's voice: As one review I read put it, it's like "an oil slick sitting on top of an ocean of metal". I agree, I think the discordance is all a part of the art. This is supposed to be uncomfortable, a difficult listen, I think that's a part of it. Once you get acclimated to the voice, and really listen, word for word, song to song, there is true dark art there. Eventually you become a victim of the flow of the moment, as Lou and Metallica became in the 10 days they put this together. If you've ever been in an emotionally violent, destructive relationship, or loved someone who took everything you could give, and returned only their emptiness back to you: this can make you identify with it to an extent. To listen with any expectation from Metallica's past or future is a mistake. Lulu is outside of that, and to listen influenced by those expectations, you won't appreciate it. You'll probably hate it. Lou Reed has been interested for some time with expanding narrative work to build music around it and create kind of a literary fusion of long form story and music. Lulu is exploring that. It's as much narrative as it is music, if not more. The words he brought in to this project are brilliant. They're real. They paint a devastating portrait of two amoral and destructive people. They are at the darkest end of the spectrum of humanity. If you can dive down into your own emotional blackness without losing your equilibrium and knowing when to come back up to draw breath, you can appreciate this fully, I think. Provocative art always has a way of polarizing people to either love or hate it. Lulu is not a metal album, not just a story, but it's own fusion of provocative, violent art. It is brilliant to that end. People complain about a lack of musicality, and that only means you cite a lack of musicality within your own comfort zones and constricted definitions of what musicality can mean. You have to allow yourself to experience this on it's own terms. Not on your terms. I'm not saying you need to remove subjectivity and just blindly accept it. But listen to it on it's terms, if you can, and then judge it. If you're unable or unwilling to listen that way, with more than just your ears and expectations, then you shouldn't judge it either. You should just ignore its existence. Lou Reed and Metallica are both artists that have earned the privilege of doing things on their own terms, and it's a sign of respect to view their collaborative art on those terms. You can then choose to accept or reject it. I happen to accept it, and I'll take from it what I can. This will probably get me more into avante-garde type music and further my own horizons of music and understanding, and to me that's a beautiful thing. I accept the terms. Thanks for reading. Expand
  6. Nov 1, 2011
    Why Lou? Why would you choose to work with Metallica? I could think of 100 better artists you could have chosen to work with. This is just a terrible album on all accounts. Fans of both Lou Reed and Metallica need to be honest with themselves and admit that NEITHER artist is relevant anymore. They are not changing the music scene or doing anything of significance. They are OLD artist trying desperately to change the landscape of music like they did earlier in their careers. I have no problem saying I love a particular artist for the influence they originally had, but that I hate their current desperate pretentious career. Expand
  7. Nov 1, 2011
    to give it a 0 is to say it hasn't any artistic merit, which it has. still, it hasn't got enough to score a 1. listen to it as a Metallica fan, a Reed fan, or not a fan at all, everything in this album sucks the same
  8. Nov 3, 2011
    Aweful. Just absolute tripe from start to finish. Now, I understand that some artists like to try and experiment every now and then and end up with remarkable results. But the only think that's remarkable about this album is just how unlistenable it is. Repetitive riffs, moronic lyrics and non-existant progression simply proves that spaghetti and chocolate just dosen't mix.
  9. Dec 5, 2011
    I dont know what to say of this album. Lou Reed and Metallica, separately, are both awesome. But this album left me confused. The music is without doubt very good. But the singing part (or the speaking part actually) is what i dont get. It confuses me.. Creeps Me out. I tried to expand my taste in music and hear this album but its not what i want!
  10. Nov 6, 2011
    Honestly, it's not as horrible as people make it out to be. I feel like the user score has been artificially deflated thanks to the scores of disappointed Metallica/Lou Reed fans. Don't get me wrong, it's an aggressively taxing listen, but if you make an effort to pay attention to the story, and give the album a fair chance, you'll find it does have some redeeming qualities. That said, there is a major disjunction between Lou's vocals and Metallica's instrumentals, that could have been repaired with some studio workshopping. This album was made quickly and it shows. Collapse
  11. Nov 8, 2011
    Metallica and Lou Reed have created in this album a complete masterpiece destined to become a cult album. I'm not saying this is the best album ever, but sure one of the greatest CDs in the last 5 years. The main reason is because they have created something new mixing their own styles in a conceptual way. Lulu is not only an album, it's something more and it's hard to explain it. Is when yo have listened all the CD, read its lyrics and watched all the art-work when you realize it's something special. Talking about Lulu's music, I think is awesome, specially Metallica's work, that explores new kinds of music with a great sensibility. It's true that in the beginning Lou's voice can seem strange in that melodies, but listening to it you see that this is a part of his poetry, of the sense of Lulu.
    Finally I want to say that the main problem for me is that this album should have been far away from mainstream and be a little work, but nothing that is done by Metallica nowadays will go unnoticed for their main audience, and specially his "purists" and detractors fans. But no matter what they say. Lulu is a GREAT album.
  12. Nov 1, 2011
    The worst thing is that Metallica can pull the whole 'it's different so THAT'S why people don't like it' thing yet again. I understand wanting to do something different musically. But the band also needs to understand that sometimes doing something different means that it can still suck. And suck this album does. Lou Reed and Metallica don't match. I don't care how poetic or progressive or deep this album is. In the end, it's about the music. And the music tends to sound stupendously bad. Expand
  13. Nov 1, 2011
    I gave this rating a star because Metallica does have some good riffs in here, some of them with a bit of variety/progression could make good Metallica songs. The issue here is Lou Reed ruining any potential here. I like a lot of Lou Reed solo work (Blue Mask, Transformer, Coney Island Baby) but his lyrics here are awful, to the point that they distract from any musical flow. Worse yet, his "singing" has no consistent pattern, melody, nothing of redeeming value. This was a struggle to get through, a total vanity project for Reed, maybe wanting to put out a metal machine music for the new decade. It's funny, because Reed has now been responsible for some of the best works of rock/pop music with Velvet Underground, and now the worst as well. Metallica does not help matters here, the music is too repetitive to be enjoyable. If they could work with a stronger producer like Danger Mouse or Rick Rubin, they could do something interesting again. Ever since Bob Rock reared his ugly head into their careers, they've gone downhill. Expand
  14. Nov 2, 2011
    Metallica, what happened? The snare drum experiment in the st anger now this?! mediocre would give credit to this garbage.
    the brand and name of both lou reed and metallica and everyone involved will be forever scarred.
  15. Nov 12, 2011
    one of the most disgusting things i have ever encountered in my life, bad riffs, bad vocals, lyrics "appears" to be sophisticated while they are mostly crap. definitely not for Metallica fans, or music fans i general. the only good thing about this is last couple of minutes in "The View" where James Insists that HE IS A TABLE, works every time i feel down and want to have a good laugh.
  16. Vic
    Nov 14, 2011
    The worst piece of **** I've ever heard! Sometimes Metallica (the best band in the world) surprises me with its stupidity! They don't think rationally that's for sure!
  17. Nov 3, 2011
    The emperor has no clothes. There are people who want to like this because they think it's "avant-garde", or "artistic", or "challenging". I don't criticise Lou Reed or Metallica for attempting this project, but I think they failed quite badly. There are many problems with this album, but perhaps the most fundamental is the general lack of connection between Reed's vocals and Metallica's backing music, something that, in combination with the monotone delivery, robs the lyrical storyline of any possible impact (not that some of the lyrics aren't downright laughable in their own right) and the entire album of any coherence.

    Many of the songs are excessively long, stretched out with mindless repetition or pointlessly tacked on sections. Incidentally, there's absolutely no justification for the length of the album, it could have only been improved by trimming it to fit on a single CD. The heavy parts which some fellow-Metallica fans probably enjoy are often... just there... sounding ok for what they are, but contributing little. (Who thought it was a good idea to take the already average speed/thrash riff of Mistress Dread and repeat it for 5+ monotonous minutes? Incredible).

    This could have been an outstanding project. All it needed was a different singer (one able to convey the twisted emotions and inner workings of the character rather than drone on witlessly, relying on the tired shock value of lyrics about vulvas, tampons and various forms of degradation to create any impact) and a different band (one able to consistently display the subtlety and creativity required to make the soundtrack fit the storyline).

    I was tempted to give it less than 3, as when I think of this project as a whole, it's pretty dire. But there are some good moments, and even a few songs that come close to working, though spoiled to some extent by the failings I've mentioned.
  18. Nov 5, 2011
    Yep, I fully agree with JeffWrubel. Can't say it better than he did. The only reason I registered at Metacritic is to support his view.
    LISTEN to the CD and read the lyrics with your headphone on. Lulu in my opinion is a good symbiosis of the dark voice of Lou (which I have liked ever since Velvet Underground) and Metallica (that I didn't like that much). Perhaps I am gonna try and listen
    to Metallica as well, now that I am out of my comfort zone!
    That's what music is all about: enjoying and bringing you further down the road. You're right: I'm older as well, though Lou is a bit older.
  19. Nov 16, 2011
    After first hearing some of this album some months ago, I first thought that it was weak, not fitting and generally painful to listen to. Despite this, I decided to try out the whole album regardless. And the end result was just as bad as my prior opinion. The main problem with the album is that Lou Reed does not go with Metallica in any way. It's like a 12-year-old kid mish-mashing two songs together and calling it a 'remix'. As much as I don't like saying this, this is an album deserving of it's criticism. Metallica fans won't like it, Lou Reed fans won't like it and anyone with the gift of ears won't like it either. Expand
  20. Nov 2, 2011
    This album have some great riffs, but they are overexploided. For example, Junior Dad is composed basically with 1 riff. 19 minutes for 1 riff is very bad. Lou Reed voice sucks, and sometimes just destroy the songs. For example, the Pumping Blood intro. It's a horrible album, Lou Reed and Metallica doesn't combine, so please don't try to do more albums together. Worst album in Metallica's History.
  21. Nov 4, 2011
    This album makes me sick to my stomach. What has happened to Metallica? Megadeth comes out with a new one and its just as good as their stuff in the 80's. I'm almost ashamed to be a Metallica fan.
  22. Nov 5, 2011
    I like it, Metallica did really great work in this album, they always say that they play what they feel to play and that what made Metallica one of the best bands in the world (the greatest band in the world for me) and about people who's really against this project, lars said; in 80's when hard-core Metallica fans heard acoustic guitars on Fade to Black, there was a nuclear meltdown in the heavy-metal community (acoustic guitar gave the song something that only people with musical ears can understand it) also lars noted that LULU and Reed's poetry is "not for everyone." Expand
  23. Nov 6, 2011
    Lou Metal(lica) Machine Music. If we weren't all aware that Lou was an idiot, we would have probably thought this was a joke, a joke on Metallica, but clearly it it not. Clearly, the man sees himself as some sort of Avant-Garde master, when really everytime he's tried to be experimental he has **** up. Metallica 1983-88 - Best metal band in the world. 1991 - Still good, but not great. 1992-2003 - Jokes. 2008 - Slight potential. 2009-2011 - Jokes, again. They've become a joke, but this has been said for almost 20 years. Lou and Metallica have both gone from being greats releasing masterpieces to has-beens with dumb fanbases. "Metallica are **** awesome, you **** Go die" That would be the general response from one of their fans, their cultureless **** for fans. I know huge Metallica fans. They're deluded idiots.... They give music and rock/metal music, in particular, a bad name. They're ruining it. They could atleast retire. They could atleast not further this, this Trage-comedy. They could give up and try their hardest to erase the last 20 years of thier career. You too Lou, the last 38 years. This is a mockery. A **** MOCKERY Expand
  24. Nov 7, 2011
    Worst album in the world. Metallica has been a great band since the 80's but since then it seems like it's been losing their magic to make music. What happened to Metallica?
  25. Nov 8, 2011
    I laughed at times. Specifically at Reed's vocal efforts. He sounds like a confused old man without any muscial abilities.

    Summary: Metallica wasted riffs on this album. Lou Reed's poetry would be better off in text form.
  26. Nov 10, 2011
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, what a joke for an album, the sound on this album does not work or fit together at all.
    Sounds like Metallica were keen to make an album that would be remember through time. But they have grabbed Lou Reed who isnt a very successful singer with music that isnt appealing to the mainstream market or metallica fans and try and failed very very badly, more dissapointing the st
    anger lol. Expand
  27. Nov 16, 2011
    Listening to this record is like witnessing your middle-aged parents performing sexual act for an hour. They certainly enjoy it themselves, and you respect them both, but that performance is not intended for anyone else to see. You wish you never saw it and want to flush the scene from your memory. There's something unnatural in that from your perspective.

    I get it - it's not 100%
    Metallica album, but who are you kidding ? If not for Metallica fans, nobody would pay attention to this dreck. I couldn't care less about Lou Reed, but I am not sure if I can take Metallica seriously after this. Expand
  28. Nov 18, 2011
    Just got to say that this is probably the worst album ever made, i rather prefer being forced to listen to Justin Biebers greatest hits. Nothing absolutely nothing on this album is worth using. Don't waste your money on it!!!
  29. Nov 26, 2011
    So many people have come out against this album and I really don't understand why. Lou Reed's albums are all one large work, each song compliments the others. I think its really incredible how easily Metallica fit into his style. The album is challenging and engaging if you give it the time it deserves to be absorbed.
  30. Nov 28, 2011
    This is an absolute joke of an album. It sounds like an old man reciting bad poetry over his grandson's garage band. I could go off on a lot of rants regarding Metallica releases in the last 2 decades, but I will stick to this album alone: It is trash. Artistically, it offers nothing to the listener. Musically it is a grungy mess of off beat noise. There is really no reason to buy this album, or even steal it, to be quite honest. There is no reason to add this album to your collection, not for Lou Reed, not for Metallica, not as a joke. Expand

Mixed or average reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 31
  2. Negative: 13 out of 31
  1. Jan 10, 2012
    The shock in this collaboration is that it sounds savagely natural. [Dec. 2011, p.93]
  2. Dec 13, 2011
    Occasionally it's so insane that you can't help but be swept along with it. Mostly, however, it's so over the top the more likely reaction is to run it off and make sure you don't hear it again in a hurry. [Dec. 2011 p. 122]
  3. Dec 8, 2011
    Metallica's unrelenting sledgehammer style works as the perfect complement to Reed's vision of compassionless love, with monolithic chords deployed with almost surgical precision wile he dissects relationships w of masochism and power. [Dec 2011, p.63]