Journalist Defends Metallica's 'Lulu:' 'It Has Some of Best Drum Sounds From Lars Since 'Black Album''

"It's a fantastic Lou Reed album utilizing Metallica to varying success," the report reads.

Journalist Defends Metallica's 'Lulu:' 'It Has Some of Best Drum Sounds From Lars Since 'Black Album''
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In an interesting column titled "In Defense of Their Good Name," one of colleagues at Metal Insider took a defensive stance towards the infamous Metallica/Lou Reed collaboration "Lulu."

"'Lulu' is fundamentally not a Metallica album," the journalist instantly stressed. "It is a Lou Reed album. Production duties were split between Reed and his long time collaborator Hal Wilner. The music was not solely performed by Metallica but by Reed, other members of his solo band, and a string section. Metallica had a heavy hand in the creation of the album, but were still part of a larger whole and the single worst entity to be evangelizing the project.

"The amount of false expectations set up by Metallica were staggering," the article reads. "A punchline before anyone heard one note, 'Lulu' was an album destined to fail. Being based on a German play adapted by Reed with random sounding lyrical phrases made an already easy target for ridicule come across as a fully formed SNL parody."

Focusing on the music, the author explained, "The truth is 'Lulu' is a fantastic Lou Reed album which utilizes Metallica to varying degrees of success. At its worst, the incongruous nature of the music reinforces why people thought this collaboration was a terrible idea. At its best, the muscular riffing of Metallica adds a wonderful escalation to the sublime soundscapes created by Reed's narration and the Velvet Underground-esque string drones."

Noting that James Hetfield's vocals come as the record's critical flaw, the report continues, "Trying to be a hyper-masculine Flavor Flav-style hype man to Reed's understated vocals is a mood killer. I hate cilantro and try to avoid it in any meal. A stray taste of cilantro in my burrito won't ruin my whole dinner, but it will ruin that bite. James Hetfield's vocals are the cilantro sprinkled on top of 'Lulu.'"

As far as the good parts go, the author singled out parts of "The View," "Dragon," "Cheat on Me" and "Junior Dad," explaining, "The greatest successes on the album are when Metallica actively work to complement Reed's songwriting. A great example is the Black Sabbath doom riff playing over string drones in 'The View.' In the second half of 'Dragon' the music shifts from avant-garde rock into classic Metallica riffing and the epic scale of the arrangement sounds genuinely earned."

Summing it all up, the article praises Lars Ulrich's drum performance as one of his finest in over two decades. "So in the end we have a great Lou Reed solo record with one of the world's greatest metal bands backing him up," the conclusion reads.

"You have some of the best drum sounds you've heard from Lars since the 'Black Album.' More than half the record is extremely successful which is a higher ratio than a lot of other later-era Lou Reed records. There is a lot of great music on Lulu and as the snarky social media and blog comments fade into obscurity I hope people will be able to start hearing the album for what it is, and not what it falsely represents."

Did you ever give "Lulu" a full-on listening and an objective review? Let us know if you agree with the journalist's stance in the comments.

116 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Mr Winters
    CRASH CRASH CRASH CRASH SNARE CRASH CRASH CRASH CRASH SNARE Yeah, those drums sound amazing.
    ne14t
    I was thinking the same thing when I went back to St. Anger just now, I was like damn he is really beating the shit out of those cymbals.
    JJ McBlaze
    It kinda feels like the 'review' I gave (Re)Load back in the mid '90's with the exception that Lulu actually is only for Lou Reed fans... and I think that this is where the problem arises; it's not for Metallica fans, who were all expecting that Lou Reed would've taken over James' vocal duties in an awesome mash-up of two worlds. It seems that even the most hardcore Metallica fans have forgotten how much James loves Lou Reed and if they'd remembered that, they could've seen what kind of album was about to come out. I think it's part of a problem where people don't want a band to change their writing and/or sound... and that's just what Metallica have been doing since 1991's 'Black Album'. (Re)Load put more emphasis on 'the song', St. Anger was very experimental in sound, Death Magnetic was an attempt to bring the 'Anger' and 'Load' closer together. Metallica tries to progress and find new inspiration instead of repaeting themself over and over into oblivion, and regardless of the hardcore fans (though, if you only like 4 out of 10 official albums... how on earth can you call yourself 'hardcore'?) they've extended their fansbase throughout that period and are still one of the most famous/influential 'metal' bands on the planet, so something must be done right. So, in conclusion I must say that I don't listen to Lulu as a Metallica album, but as Lou Reed album with a different band backing him... But that band could've been any band. It doesn't make my Metallica bells jingle, so to speak.
    ryanbwags
    Perfectly said. I've been listening to them for over 20 years and some of my favorite songs come from Load and ReLoad. If they made albums that sounded the same for 25 years, they'd be Slayer.
    third(-)eye
    I understand all of that, but there are still loads of issues with the recording of the record alone, even if the songs themselves were good. It's just sloppy, and you can practically hear where they made edits.
    MaggaraMarine
    Yeah, well said. Also, people will never be satisfied. If Metallica does something they have done before, people will bitch about it (because they have heard it before - or they think Metallica is just trying to please their fans) and if they do something new, people will bitch about it (because it doesn't sound like Master of Puppets).
    Archer250
    Well, you can't get the drums to sound worse than St. Anger.
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    yeah you can listen to Boston's newest album.
    morbidguitar
    LOL Boston is great, but the last two album attempts have been beyond horrible. Did I read correctly in the past that he used the snare on St Anger... with the snare turned off?
    ne14t
    I just went back to St. Anger to check this out and I can hear the snare but it sounds really sloppy and loose. I don't know how they recorded it but now that I actually listen closely the snare sounds like utter shit in that song, can't be bothered to listen to the whole album right now.
    slydotcom
    He said in an interview that it was as sloppy as it gets also they down tuned the snare.
    J-E-M
    Hard anal sex for you. $100 per hour. Can you take it, bitch.
    haifisch234
    St. Anger's drums are great, they're just very different.
    kaveh640
    Agreed I hate when people expect a band to have the same sound throughout their whole careers. The reason St.Anger is one of my favorite albums is the fact that the drums sound so different the whole album has a very cool raw/angry/gritty feel to it.
    morbidguitar
    Yea, well if they used a drum setup like that for their first album, it would have been their last.
    FistOfFury
    The reason I like St. Anger over Death Magnetic is because they actually were doing what they wanted to. Death Magnetic was just an attempt to go back to their thrash roots and please the fans.
    Second Rate
    St. Anger's drum tone is as overproduced as you can get. A "raw" snare drum doesn't sound like an oil drum with a Mylar film stretched over it..... it sounds like a snare drum.
    tonello
    Unless you knew that he turned the snares off on the drum to get that sound.
    Second Rate
    Really? That's funny... because I've used my snare drums with the snares off many times and they've never yielded a piercing, obnoxious clang that sounds like someone thwacking an oil drum with an aluminum rod. I've even played the 6.5x14 Lars Ulrich signature diamond plate snare (the type he used on St. Anger) on a couple of occasions, and it does not sound at all like the tone on that record. Snares off or not, the tone on that album is the result of studio manipulation. It is not "raw" by any stretch of the imagination.
    MaggaraMarine
    I kind of agree. The raw sounds on the album do fit the music. But they wouldn't fit any other Metallica album.
    third(-)eye
    I have to ask, does Lars HAVE "good" drum sounds? Or is it just varying degrees of shit?
    Second Rate
    Kill 'Em All had pretty good drum sounds. Ride the Lighting and Master of Puppets were his best.. in the ears of this listener at least. When he adopted the clicking, typewriter bass drum tone on ...And Justice For All, it was all downhill from there.
    howyjr
    I would have to say that the drum "sound" on Load and Reload is the best. Not talent wise, just production.
    Shredder666
    I'm not some Metallica fanboy or anything, but if you're a musician and you have some kind of an ear, you can't deny that "...And Justice for All" has great drum performances on it.
    Barricade_28
    "'Lulu' is fundamentally not a Metallica album," the journalist instantly stressed. "It is a Lou Reed album." No it isn't, to you and all the other dumbasses out there. IT'S A LOU REED AND METALLICA ALBUM! It says so on the spine of the CD, throughout the liner notes, in the copyright of the album, on iTunes, on Amazon. You have to be a complete idiot to deny this.
    ne14t
    FUNDAMENTALLY...meaning it doesn't conform to the norm for a Metallica album however it is completely normal for Lou Reed. Learn 2 English before getting pissed off...
    Barricade_28
    Really? So there's a lot of metal riffs on Lou Reed records? Seems like a pretty equal collaboration to me, I'm sorry you fail to understand the obvious.
    UniformRecon
    UG Logic: "Wow! Some journalist from a not-very-large publication has an unpopular opinion! LET'S MAKE IT NEWS!"
    buddy1991
    It is hilarious to me how much Metallica fans hate this album. I honestly feel bad for Metallica because they can't try anything new without their fans bashing the shit out of it. So now they probably feel compelled to write another cd that sounds exactly like what they have been releasing for the past 25 or so years. I honestly hope they keep trying to release music that falls outside of the sound they have established, because there is nothing worse than a band who keeps releasing the same cd over and over again.
    Horndawgb17
    Some fans enjoy the same cd over and over. Think Slayer, ACDC, Motorhead
    TheExterminator
    Slayer changed, though. They made a Nu-Metal album with Diabolus in Musica and then resigned themselves to being a second-rate Thrash band since then. Their current music is nothing like Show No Mercy or Hell Awaits.
    qrEE
    I don't know, I mean Nile is one of my favorite bands ever and they basically release the same CD over and over. I'm pretty ok with people not changing the core of their sound, or if they do, calling it a different band name. They don't need the name "Metallica" on something like lulu.
    RU486
    First off, I don't know about other Metallica fans, but I hate this album because the musicianship in it is simply horrifying. The whole sound just sucks on the album, and all those 10 minute songs mix together and sound like the same track. Secondly, bands SHOULD go off on a different path musically, which is something Metallica has done since Load/Reload, but they also need to revive that old sound their fans fell in love with them for in the first place, instead of just doing whatever the hell they want too. That is, of course, if they want to keep a solid fan-base.
    javdoc
    Bands should do whatever the hell they want. Period. They don't exist to please you, they exist to please themselves, and by doing so, hopefully find an audience for their work.
    ne14t
    Well don't ever become a musician as a career then, because your business plan is all wrong. A band most certainly want's to please the audience, they are the one buying your music. If you only make music for yourself odds are not many people will like it, which drastically reduces any profit you will make. Take a look at bands like Nickelback, they ****ing suck for most people that like diverse music; however they appeal to radio rock lovers which is the majority of music listeners. This is why they have platinum albums and sell out stadiums even though almost everyone on this page probably hates them.
    MaggaraMarine
    Not everybody makes music because they want to be famous. Have you ever thought that making your own music could be fun? Metallica started playing together because it was fun. Their image is all about not caring about what other people think about them. If music was all about the money, nobody would experiment because most of the time experimenting doesn't give you lots of album sales. The only genre would be mainstream pop.
    third(-)eye
    I agree that Metallica's musicianship has slipped significantly and I agree that Lulu is garbage. However, correct me if I'm wrong, wasn't Death Magnetic an attempt to return to their old sound?
    Rimfrost
    Mainly, but it uses the same song writing method as the one they used on St. Anger. Namely gluing cool riffs together with plenty of snare drum fills.
    third(-)eye
    I don't feel bad for them, they all have their heads far enough up their asses to not care.
    TheExterminator
    And I feel bad for Metallica because they can't try anything new due to the fact they simply don't have the skill to make anything other than early 80s Thrash. They were starting to fall behind even half-way through Master of Puppets, anyway. It doesn't matter that LuLu is different than their previous stuff, most of the riffs on the album are mix between crappy St. Anger rejects and mediocre Sludge riffs. Half the reason this album even gets defended is because of Lou Reed and Metallica's name on it. If any other band released it, it wouldn't have even seen the light of day. A band has the right to do whatever they want, but trash is trash, and no amount of "BANDS' RIGHTS" is going to change that. Especially for a band who started their career in response to all the crappy Glam bands they vocally hated on.