From time to time an event of notable importance occurs. Something a commentator with the type of time limitations I battle, simply can’t ignore. For example, when a gay, African, Muslim with Irish roots and a bundle of social security numbers becomes President of the United States of America, well, I’m simply forced to take note. When the Catcher in the Rye kills John Lennon, I can’t look the other way. When Elton John puts out an album with Motörhead it’s, well, he never did, but it would definitely be noteworthy if he did! This is the sort of noteworthy event that Lou Reed performing with Metallica is. Chuck Klosterman, in an article he wrote, “Injustice For All: The Lou Reed/Metallica Album” listed 4 reasons:
- 1-Two historically significant artists merging unrelated genres for no defined reason.
- 2-Adult, self-aware musicians following their own creative vision, devoid of commercial pressure or responsibility.
- 3-An attempt to produce something authentically different from anything we’ve ever heard before, motivated only by a desire to see what would happen.
- 4-A confident, unvarnished attempt at taking arcane high art (Lulu is based on theatrical German expressionism from the early 20th century) and repackaging it for denim-clad teenagers huffing gas in Arizona parking lots.
Klosterman follows this list with 3 paragraphs pointing out how horrible it actually is. I hate to say this, being a fan of both (in spite of Metallica’s “Some Kind of Monster” revealing what a bunch of sissies these “metal monsters” are), but I pretty much agree. It certainly is interesting and damn, I really want to like this, but I’m afraid I just can’t quite do it. Lou Reed has done some stunning work (once in a while) and Metallica while having slipped somewhat from their peak, are always well above average. Neither live up to their potential. Lulu gives us a significantly sub-par performance from both sides. I can’t make myself recommend it. However, I really would like to see the same experiment performed with Tom Waits and Alice in Chains as the unusual ingredients.