Lulu - Lou Reed
User Score
2.1

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 155 Ratings

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

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  1. Nov 5, 2011
    10
    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
  2. Nov 8, 2011
    10
    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.
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  3. Nov 26, 2011
    10
    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.
  4. Dec 9, 2011
    10
    Total, absolute masterpiece. Certainly within the top 10 albums I have ever heard and I have been an avid music fan for 35 years. It is an acquired taste. It is very different and challenging. The lyrics are as good as anything I've ever listened to or read. High art. Great literature. The music is utterly driven and intense but still manages to find space where space is needed. Every single track has depth and its own sense of being, but Junior Dad stands out as a milestone in rock music. This is a truly astonishing album that stretches boundaries and the listener. It's like nothing I've ever heard before and I would rank it in the same league as the work of The Velvet Underground, which is the highest praise I can give it. Expand
  5. Apr 6, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Typical for Lou Reed is the mixed feelings his music creates by the public. When I listened to 'Lulu' immediately
    I was struck by the massive presence of the sound, knowing his choice of lyrics was mostly found in literature of a kind that struck the world all over like: The Raven from Edgar Allen Poe or his story like songs from 'New York' with his bold texts about NY street life.

    'Lulu' contains also lyrics in that matter in this case from Frank Wedekind's tragedy: 'Erdgeist whose work was also used in an opera from Alban Berg made in the beginning of the 20st century.

    In my opinion the cooperation of Lou and Metallica was a splendid idea that created phenomenal music but with a risk of being misjudged by the majority of pop and rock fans that are familiar with heavy metal music.

    Typical Lou. He learned his lesson from Andy Warhol to be very serious about what you want in life and stick to yourself and your ideas. I say listen to 'Lulu' for some time and you will get the message somehow cause the music
    has an overwhelming power and sadness to the highest degree! The loss of Lou still makes me sad but I know I'm not alone. He was a true artist and a fantastic musician that stood for his convictions and really lived his life well.
    It will take some time but 'Lulu' will be rated much higher in the future than it is now.

    Aad van der Well
    The Netherlands
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  6. Nov 1, 2011
    8
    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
  7. Nov 5, 2011
    8
    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.
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  8. Nov 10, 2011
    6
    There are a lot of problems with this cd. First, I am not a Metallica fan and I thought they did not deliver. However, they do not shoulder all of the blame. Half of of the songs are decent but the other half really suck. Little Dog and Mistress Dread really dreadful. Junior Dad starts out as a classic Lou emotiomal song piece but collappes under the weight of pure musical **** I cannot decide whwther Lou and Metallicala are **** with us or really trying to experimement. Knowing Lou's track reord, the joke is on us. A damn shame! Expand
  9. Oct 10, 2013
    6
    Far from a masterpiece but at the same time, not complete garbage. Lulu is a very mixed bag that will only be appreciated by few. I initially detested this work and wrote it off immediately. However after discovering more about Lou Reed as an artist and his work in The Velvet Underground I began to understand the type of experimental music that Lou Reed was trying to achieve with Metallica. Metallica's riffs are pretty solid and heavy and if further developed could be groundwork for a pretty cool album. Lou Reeds voice is just as it has always sounded, powerful yet monotone. Fans of Lou Reed would understand exactly what I'm talking about but if you don't, listen to a couple Lou Reed songs. The production on the album is mediocre, Lou Reeds vocals aren't very distinguishable which is a damn shame since he is definitely flexing his poetic muscle in this album. As a longtime Metallica fan I was able to appreciate what they brought to the (ready for it....) table (yeah I just made a Lulu pun, look up I am the table on YouTube) and appreciated that they were going for a heavy feel for the simplistic riffs. Overall, the album has its highlights like "The View", "Iced Honey" and "Dragon" but fails to execute a lot of what it wanted to do. If you're into experimental music, you'll like this album, and remember to keep an open mind when listening to it. Expand
  10. Jun 20, 2012
    5
    Personally, the instruments sound awesome (because it's Metallica). They always sound good. It's the singing/talking that drives me wild. I mean, it's ok, but it just gets creepy after you listen to it for a while. So basically, the 5 comes from the Metallica part of the album, where as the other 5 that aren't there come from the Lou Reed part of the album.
  11. Sep 6, 2013
    5
    This album is weird. Not in a good sense, either. First of all, we need to take Metallica out of the equation, since they are basically session men here perhaps the greatest limit of Lulu is that it doesn't use all its creative resources. Even weirder, Metallica here are playing some sort of slow-paced hard rock, which is clearly not their thing. Lou Reed is, as expected, baffling. He doesn't sing (can he?), but still manages to speak out of tune and to slip completely off the beat in many occasions. This adds up to an unusual listening experience, which provides nice moments of intellectual satisfaction and a couple of intense, theatrical lines delivered by Mr. Reed. The shorter songs are quite enjoyable (powerhouse The View is the highlight of the album), but they are just not enough to redeem Lulu. Expand
  12. Oct 28, 2013
    5
    Like most experimental metal albums, Lulu take time for listeners to appreciate in fact a lot of time is needed. This is an overly long album (even by Metallica's standards) characterised by thrash metal backing tracks provided by Metallica and the ramblings of a crazy old man (RIP Lou Reed). Lyrically, the record is just poetic nonsense reminiscent of The Velvet Underground but without the humour or insight thank goodness there's very little singing from Lou Reed in the 8 minute songs. Musically, Metallica have performed some of their best compositions in years.
    Like I said at the beginning, this is a record that takes time; the songs are generally around 7 or 8 minutes (one even being 20 minutes!) and, well, this isn't exactly an "easy" listen and by that I mean you need to listen to the WHOLE record to appreciate this, otherwise the songs are just a joke and an embarrassment for both performers (well not Reed, who remembers Metal Machine Music 1975?) with rather peculiar lyrics and just plain odd musicality.
    People quite rightly hate this album, but its not the worst album ever, (it is Metallica's worst though, but its not their fault) in fact Lulu is something of an avant-garde masterpiece its a piece of work that people for years will find controversial. As a Lou Reed album, its a long haul; as a Metallica album, its an intriguing, brave piece of work that is their best musically performed album in years.
    NOTE: the "best" songs are mostly those found on Disc 2 (including the rather impressive, grand closer Junior Dad) whilst Disc 1 has only one noteworthy song opener Brandenburg Gate.
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  13. WD2
    Nov 1, 2011
    4
    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
  14. Nov 6, 2011
    4
    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. Expand
  15. Nov 6, 2011
    4
    After listening to this album, I have NO respect for Lou Reed anymore. He has ruined Metallica and what they are known for. His voice is so annoying and sounds awful... and it's put to crazy, loud guitars. It doesn't go. If Lou thinks that this is the best thing he's ever done, then he must have has a crappy career. And Metallica, please forget you ever did this and go back to Death Magnetic. At least this wasn't as bad as St. Anger. Expand
  16. Nov 16, 2011
    4
    An album that just sounds like nobody knows what's going on. Simple as that. Lou Reed sounds like he's in a different country, and Metallica, well, kinda saves the album, but like always, Lars can't really keep steady time. This is Metallica's worst album, but not Lou Reed's. (see Metal Machine Music)
  17. Jan 3, 2012
    4
    It has the balls to not be conventional, and it has some decent songs where the two seemingly opposite Lou and Metallica find a common ground. Not a great album but far from the utter failure most people claim it is. The production of the record, IMO, if better could have improved the final result of the mixed styles.
  18. Nov 2, 2011
    3
    Soo i bought this album being a long time fan of Metallica. Do not make that mistake! I haven't really had much Lou Reed experience but im sure he was better off on his own, same with Metallica. The whole album feels like poetry being read to you with some guys playing metal in the background. It just doesn't work. Maybe i didnt give this enough time to sink in, but i only listened halfway through the album before i had to shut it off. It was that bad. Expand
  19. Nov 3, 2011
    3
    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.
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  20. Mar 8, 2012
    3
    A bigger disaster, this album, Lulu is horrible, I don't like the music of Metallica, but I believe that is a great band, but my problem is that I like the music of Lou Reed, but this CD is terrible.
  21. Nov 8, 2011
    2
    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.
  22. Nov 30, 2011
    2
    Lulu has two alright songs on it, the songs that are alright are "Iced Honey" and "Cheat on Me" the rest of the album is just **** The lyrics for the album are just rubbish, such as, in the song "Frustration" Lou says some like "Kiss your breast and toes" what **** idiot would say that? The man is a wanker and Metallica are dick heads for working with him! What ever you do, don't waste your money on this bull****, buy something better. But i do recommend listening to the album on youtube for a laugh. Expand
  23. Dec 5, 2011
    2
    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!
  24. Apr 20, 2012
    2
    Why Mettalica? One of the greatest bands of all time falls into the greasy hands of the old geaser Lou Reed. He talks, not sings, and you would not be able to tell this was Mettalica. For the die hard fans, my heart goes out to you, haha. But really, everything is garbage, I respect a change from the hard rocking band, but I did expect a change that was higher in quality than this.
  25. May 25, 2012
    2
    While I can understand what Metallica and Lou Reed tried to do on this record, their sounds are too different to fit well together. This album sounds like Lou Reed reciting dark, and unappealing poems that he had written, while Metallica can be heard jamming in the background and it ends up sounding like a mess. I gave this album several chances to grow on me but it truly is a waste of time and a poor collaboration between very accomplished musicians. The only thing keeping this from a 1/10 is "Iced Honey", which is actually more or less listenable. Collapse
  26. Aug 30, 2012
    2
    When The View was released I hoped it was the worst song of the album. It was horrible listening to such a lament (and the lyrics? I am the table? Who the hell wrote that?). But listening to the whole album was also worse. Little Dog is one of the worst songs I have ever listened to. It seems that Lou Reed had stomachache while "singing". Awful. I hope Metallica's 2013 record will be great, so I will forget this album. Expand
  27. Nov 1, 2011
    1
    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
  28. Nov 2, 2011
    1
    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.
  29. Nov 3, 2011
    1
    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.
Metascore
45

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
    80
    The shock in this collaboration is that it sounds savagely natural. [Dec. 2011, p.93]
  2. Dec 13, 2011
    40
    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
    80
    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]