- Josh Bell's rating:
The Metallica fan’s perspective
After enduring the shapeless, tinny St. Anger and the equally shapeless (but heavier and more slickly produced) Death Magnetic, I’m happy to see Metallica try new things. But the Lou Reed collaboration Lulu just continues the band’s run of lackluster songwriting and sprawling self-indulgence. A handful of songs start out with what sound like halfway decent Metallica riffs, but almost every track devolves into repetitive, meandering nonsense, like the band was just messing around in the studio while Reed croaked out some spoken-word idiocy nearby. The two artists’ styles never fit together, and Reed’s rambling lyrics inspired by a 19th-century German play are often unintentionally hilarious. As on the band’s last two albums, there are moments here that point to some creative spark still left, but they’re extremely sparse over the course of this epic endurance test.
- Spencer Patterson's rating:
The Lou Reed fan’s perspective
On his worst day, Lewis Allan Reed is worth a listen. The Metallica mob will argue Lou is what’s wrong with Lulu, when really he’s the only interesting thing about it. Interesting, in this case, converges with triumphant too infrequently, yet the double-album’s 87 minutes still make for an oddly mesmerizing aural experience. Sure, man and band seem out-of-sync as often as not. And yes, Reed’s ranting lyrics sometimes suggest “Coney Island Baby”-caliber storytelling might permanently live in his past. But then, songs based on turn-of-the-century German stage works aren’t meant to be absorbed as easily as “Enter Sandman.” If you like Lou—not just Velvet Underground/Transformer Lou, but Metal Machine Music/Mistrial Lou, too—give Lulu some extra effort. It might be Lewis Allan Reed’s worst day, but it’s still worth a listen.