Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Who's to say what makes great rock & roll anymore? If you were to believe some of the self-appointed arbiters of taste, you'd certainly believe that Lou Reed and Metallica's new collaborative effort, Lulu, ranks among the worst albums ever recorded. If it truly is, then I'm rather curious to hear it, but the barrage of negativity - as if these professional critic types are simply looking for something, anything, to get excited about in 2011, even if it's from a wholly negative perspective - has worn me down to a calm indifference... and I haven't even heard the thing yet! And anyway, if it is as terrible as some people are saying it is, then that's merely following a distinct career path both parties have followed the past few decades. Lou Reed released Ecstacy in 2000, and it wound up being my favourite release of that year. His career has been a total rollercoaster ride to the highest peaks and the deepest valleys, but that's Lou. He doesn't give a fuck what you think. Maybe he should, and if he wasn't such a flaming asshole he would, but I'd also be disappointed if he did. Metallica, on the other hand, hit their peak during their first three albums in the early/mid '80s, and haven't reared their heads out of the muck for any extended time since. I've actually heard their St. Anger album, and it beggars belief that Lulu could be worse, but it may well be. Some chowderhead gives Lulu a blasting here at Pitchfork. When a friend recommended I read it, I blasted back that I found it incomprehensible that someone at Pitchfork would actually know anything about what makes good rock music, but the review, in hindsight, probably hits the nail on the head most of the time. Still, I'd rather watch the clip above - Loutallica obliterating "White Light/White Heat" on British TV - than one by the Fleet Foxes or Bon Iver. It's not that Metallica sound that bad, it's that Reed sounds like he couldn't be bothered. He's sounded that way for decades, you'd better get used to it. There's also this review from Volcanic Tongue. That's the other side of the story. I can't vouch for the opinions, but I'm glad someone wrote it. In a career of Fuck Yous, Lulu may be Reed's biggest middle finger yet. Frankly, if it's upset people as much as it appears to have, then it must have something going for it.