“Listen, this is Lou’s greatest work. This is his masterpiece. Just wait, it will be like Reed’s Berlin. It will take everyone a while to catch up.”
That’s David Bowie to Laurie Anderson about Lulu soon after Lou’s passing and just before his Hall Of Fame induction plus soon after that David himself also passed away. He when on to say it’s not about pleasing people, it’s about challenging them so it seems almost everyone wasn’t up to it. Today’s post is going to be about one of the most hated and misunderstand albums in the last five years or could that be of all-time? Anderson did say herself she couldn’t listen it because it was so anger and that’s not the Lou she knew but after David saying that she listen again and to quote own words now:
I was like, Whoa! This is like an American King Lear!
I guess almost everyone has dismissed it and maybe even forget it by now but I do think it’s one of the greatest album of the decade we are living in right now. Maybe you’ll dismiss me now and maybe everything else I say because of this but I don’t care! I stick to my guns and go on the record now to call Lulu by Lou Reed & Metallica as a greatest album. The last few posts under this title Classic Albums have been decade by decade picks of some of my fave albums highlighted in one post each and I’m really getting into it now and now see if I can do one a day for a while or something, OK?
31st of October also known as Halloween in 2011, five year to the day was the release of this album. What the hell of an album, scary the living shit out of fans, critics and everyone else in the world. You know the old saying? “Give the people want they want” well, this album is not that at all in any shape or form. On my very first I could totally see want they both were doing and could see everyone missing the point of such an album. One the greatest songwriter ever teaming up with one of the biggest bands in the world, want could go wrong? Well, nothing until the masses got their hands on it. As soon as I heard Reed’s voice on this over his acoustic guitar sing the lines:
I would cut my legs and tits off
When I think of Boris Karloff and Kinski
In the dark of the moon
It made me dream of Nosferatu
Trapped on the isle of Doctor Moreau
Oh wouldn’t it be lovely
Then the band comes clashing in the next line with him rhyming Peter Lorre with pretty gory is just genius. People criticized his voice at the time but couldn’t they tell it’s a 70 year old man on his last legs? Then again did anyone listen to his older records because he never had a golden voice or something like then, it just amazed me what people picked on. If it was released like say David Bowie’s Blackstar album earlier this year was would people have the same negative reaction? Well, most likely I guess but they’re missing the point again but people do that. It’s not suppose to be easy and nice, it’s Lou going out with all guns blazing say in like in one of those old westerns were the Cowboys and/or Indians know they’re going to die as soon as they make they next move so they’re thinking fuck it let’s taken down as much as I can with me/us and maybe Reed was successful at it because I can’t find one good review about it. They’re reviewers saying about Reed’s earlier work and his more difficult albums but then just dismissing this one. Metallica was a big put off for almost everyone and metalheads were the worst too. They shouldn’t even have listen to it because they’re never open to something strange/odd as this, like how could they even go there? That’s why it’s Metallica and not some other band like every man and his dog have said “If it was so and so it would be better but not Metallica” Reed picked them not some other band. At least James says he’s a redneck but would most Metallica or metal fans say it too? Maybe, maybe not.
Really it is the closest thing Metallica have done since the Kill Em’ All days, I mean the recording set-up Reed wouldn’t let them do all the studio tricks they’ve learn since those early days. Reed pulled them out of there nice comfort zone, even if the recording taken place at Metallica HQ recording studio but this is them flying by the sit of they pants for a very, very longtime. Reed does bring Hal Willner to be co-producer too and wouldn’t let never ending retakes. Some say he shouldn’t have been playing/singing but that’s what it’s all about, soon after he got very sick and maybe he knew it was his last time in a recording studio. Reed’s vocals are just such avalanche of words it’s like Spoken Word album.
The lyric are about or the subject matter about a young girl who does embody both elements of female sexuality’s dualism, mother/whore and then who’s murdered by Jack the Ripper, that’s story if you missed it! All off-course is sung by a 70 year old man two years away for not being on Earth anymore. Lulu is based on an opera from the middle of 1930’s Nazi Germany which the original composer didn’t live to see completed and far from performing it after his dead incomplete mainly played by then Jazz bands and which also pretty funny it was very unpopular at that time too. As well as Spoken Word this album really is like some kind-of Alternative, Avant-garde, Art and Experimental album, so far from a Rock or Metal album like the songwriter and band who recorded it is normally file under. Maybe it should never released by a major label like Warner. Bros but that wouldn’t make any differences to the out come I don’t think.
It’s double album too and every idiot also said at the time it’s too long, more bitching and moaning. It’s pretty perfect time maybe it could have been even longer I would say. Maybe it’s just me but Lars only a few days ago said he wouldn’t change a thing on this record and I totally agree with him on that really and that’s for the very first time ever I do. Reed started to played a Synth later in his life after being a full-on guitar player all his life and once again he’s playing it on Lulu too. All lyrics by Reed and the music is credited to both Reed and Metallica. This is the third album for the newish bass player Robert Trujillo and off course it’s James, Lars and Kirk line-up. The main additional musicians are Sarth Calhoun on electronics, string arrangements by Jenny Scheinman also plays both violin and viola, no not the same thing. Then with cello by Marika Hughes, Ron Lawrence on viola and Megan Gould on violin.
No doubt I totally love this album and yeah I’ve defended it to anyone and everyone who’s starts to talk shit about it and mostly they’re shocked someone love it but I can’t be the only one or am I? Just before recording the Lulu album Reed revisited both his Metal Machine Music and Berlin albums which are now called stone cold classics so everyone should have know something like this was coming from him. About three months ago at The Bells: A Daylong Celebration of Lou Reed Laurie Anderson perform Junior Dad as one of her two songs she did on that day. Maybe it should just be called a classic album for the fact it is hated so much. I do love it a little more just to make up for that, so come on who else loves this album?
Lulu track listing and times:
1. Brandenburg Gate – 4:19
2. The View – 5:17
3. Pumping Blood – 7:24
4. Mistress Dread – 6:51
5. Iced Honey – 4:36
6. Cheat On Me – 11:26
7. Frustration – 8:34
8. Little Dog – 8:01
9. Dragon – 11:08
10. Junior Dad – 19:29
My Classic Albums are, so far:
Tales From The Australian Underground – Volume 1 & 2 by Various Artists
Station To Station by David Bowie
Unplugged In New York by Nirvana
Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs by Marty Robbins
Henry’s Dream by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Whatever You Love, You Are by Dirty Three
In The Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra
The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn by Pink Floyd
Songs Of Love And Hate by Leonard Cohen
Warm Leatherette by Grace Jones
Silence Is Sexy by Einstürzende Neubauten
So, this was the reason I started this blog. The idea is simply to write post about one of my fave album each that I consider a classic album. Please leave your comments below about each album because I would love to hear what you think about each album too, cheers!