by Jacob Sprecher
Have you heard about this, Ed? Did you know about this? Lou Reed and Metallica just announced the full tracklist for Lulu, aka what is sure to be one of the worst collaborations in the history of rock music. If the above information is entirely new, all you really need to know is that Reed and Metallica are in cahoots, and that the forthcoming 10-song effort will include a 19-and-a-half minute closer entitled “Junior Dad.” Oh, and there’s also two songs that clock in at 11 minutes (“Cheat On Me” and “Dragon”).
So let me beg the question: When exactly did Lou Reed officially crack his curly headed nut? Jesus Christ. This whole thing stinks worse than Chickenfoot. And by that I mean no press outlet worth half a bumblebee nickel ever took that schlocky supergroup seriously. But with the unfounded wealth of legitimate rock ‘n’ roll cred that both Reed and Metallica accumulated in their respective heydays, the Rolling Stone’s and Z-Rocks of the world are going to slurp this shit up like runny ice cream, and it’s already making me ill. I mean come on! Lou Reed and Metallica?? Did you see their ridiculous Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame performance of “Sweet Jane”? It was a goddamn butt-rock extravaganza! And it’s not even that I expect Lulu to be butthole-ish; on the contrary. With the length of the tracks listed above, I expect a full dose of masturbatory crap from an artist and band that seem completely incapable of riding off into the sunset.
But in many ways, this pairing is a perfect fit. On the one hand you’ve got Lou Reed, father of the Velvet Underground, the most influential rock ‘n’ roll outfit to ever exist outside the mainstream. Reed’s solo career flourished throughout the 70s (Transformer, Berlin, Metal Machine Music, Coney Island Baby), even through the misses (Sally Can’t Dance, Rock and Roll Heart), and maintained bits of magic as late as 1990 (Songs For Drella). But the past 20 years have seen both fans and critics alike shun most everything Reed has put forth, be it conceptualizing Edgar Allen Poe or leaping into the world of meditation/relaxation. And that’s not to say old Lou should simply hang up the sneakers; it’s his life, he can do what he wants, and he will. But Metallica? This is how he decides to comeback into the national spotlight? With a band that operates more as a punchline than a group of respected musicians at this point?
Of course Metallica are deserved legends in their own right, pioneering thrash and metal at large, yada, yada, we all know the story. But we also know that they’ve sucked for 20 straight years, along the way denigrating their professional reputation to the highest status of greed-driven, egomaniacal rockstars. Which is of course perfect for Reed, who’s always been a megalomaniac, and continues as such to to this day. I’m actually surprised they managed to keep his mug off the cover, as Reed’s face has graced the front of literally every single solo album he’s ever released with the exception of his two namesakes, Lou Reed and Lou Reed’s Inner Spaces. But he obviously needed some sort of personal bump, as they dubbed the fucking thing Lulu.
So we can see, by comparison of career path and ego, that it does makes sense that these two would link up. But beyond that it’s totally insane. There’s never been anything about Lou Reed’s music that screamed Metallica (and don’t say Metal Machine Music–that’s an entirely separate trip), and there’s never been anything about Metallica that’s screamed Lou Reed. Stylistically speaking, the pairing is completely arbitrary. And I’m sure in some deranged circles, people would shout, “Say hey! What about Public Enemy and Anthrax, Run DMC and Aerosmith?” Well, I hate to break it, but this ain’t the rock-hop merger of ‘86. This is a merger of no value to musically exclusive styles. It is again, quite simply, masturbatory. It’s a bunch aging stars looking for a way to stay relevant, who in the process will further sacrifice their already diminished contemporary notoriety. Fuck it, I guess. Their lives, their legacies. Nobody’s gonna remember in five years anyway.
UPDATE: If you’re one who thinks I’m being a “pretentious dickwad,” have a listen to the 30-second sample released today. Enjoy!