Sound — 7
So "Lulu", possibly the most controversial album of the century there has been a lot of hate directed at this latest Lou Reed release. Yes, Lou Reed release. I have decided to side with the band and say that this is a Lou Reed album and in the context of Lou's work "Lulu" is experimental but definitely in line with what he has done in the past. The guitars feature grinding circular riffs that repeat very frequently and rarely solo, the bass is solid calmly following the guitar riffs. As for the drums Lars does not impress but instead plays with a low intensity nicely slotting into that Lou Reed feel. The vocals are typical of both Reed and Hammet and the lyrics are evidence that Lou is still crazy (which is good). In short from the Lou Reed perspective this is actually a pretty decent album and makes sense with the rest of his discography. The guitar sound on this record is surprisingly close to how I would imagine a heavy metal Lou Reed. Sure at times it speeds up a bit more than expected but overall the riffs are simple and grungy. There are a few small acoustic bits but the majority of the album features distortion yet somehow at the same time this album is not brutal just different. I feel that all of the songs fit 100% in to the Lou Reed style, if this was any other artist the riffs might feel generic but with Lou it is exactly what I expected. And some of the riffs are just magic, the beginning of the heavy party of "Brandenburg Gate" is mindblowing. All in all Hammet and Hetfield do a fairly good job of backing up Lou and Hetfield's singing on this record and accurately reflect what a metal version of Lou should sound like. The bass on this record is also very Lou-esque, it is fairly minimalist performance by Trujillo following the guitar riffs and generally making the guitar sound a lot heavier. I hope on the new recently announced new Metallica record Trujillo gets more of a chance to shine because I know that his bass playing can be a lot stronger than this. Yet he still does a good job of capturing the Lou Reed atmosphere. And he does get a really awesome part in "Junior Dad". The drumming of Lars Ulrich pretty much reflects the guitar riffs, it is pretty simplistic and while there are some decent fills here and there the majority of the time Lars plays nice and easy simple drum riffs. While this is maybe not the greatest Lars performance it definitely fits in with the Lou Reed aura and makes sense within his discography.
Lyrics — 8
The vocals on this track are decent from both of the singers on "Lulu". Reed keeps up his regular style featuring the talk-singing which makes him unique. Admittedly on some of these more recent records of his and especially on this one the talk-singing becomes a bit more like talking than singing. Also Lou is starting to sound a bit old in some of his parts his voice becomes that of the old man that he is. As for James Hetfield his vocals are fairly good and he definitely has a lot of conviction in his vocal lines. I am especially fond of his passionate yell of "Small Town Girl" in "Brandenburg Gate". From a vocal perspective this album is pretty decent. The vocals are... Very Lou. They have all of the psychedelic insanity that makes Reed so great at the same time featuring some great messages underneath the morass of weirdness.
Overall Impression — 8
In conclusion, this is actually a decent album, from a Lou Reed standpoint. It features some pretty decent songs and finishes with a beautifully crafted epic in "Junior Dad". As a backing band Metallica does very well and they accurately reflect all that is Lou from a more metal perspective. The guitars feature very Lou-esque riffs and unsurprisingly have few solos. The bass is pretty straightforward but there are some pretty nice fills throughout. The drums are gentle and don't seek to blast you away, instead drawing you in to the low powered riffs. The vocals are typical of both vocalists however Lou is definitely starting to age. As for the lyrics, they are completely insane, yet I like them because they are very Lou. I really don't know what to make of this album, but something inside me says it is pretty good.