Home Read Area Resident’s Classic Album Review: Lou Reed | Lulu

Area Resident’s Classic Album Review: Lou Reed | Lulu

This is record you need to hear. But only once. And for God's sake, don't buy it.

I have always considered myself a Lou Reed fan — but maybe I’m not. Or at least not an indiscriminate one — especially when it comes to his solo output. After leaving The Velvet Underground, the late legend made 20 studio albums as a solo artist, along with two more collaborations. Of those albums, I was only familiar with five. So I decided to listen to and review the remaining 15. At times it was like torture.

In a nutshell, Reed has a big basket of bonafide classics. Unique, unmistakable and ground-breaking songs which combine poetry and prose with a variety of music styles. But he also recorded a fly-ridden heap of awful, awful songs featuring his distinctive but poor singing, along with excessive sax and fretless bass.

Here’s one of the entries in his uneven catalog:


Lulu, for those who don’t already know, is Lou Reed’s unlikely 2011 collaboration with Metallica, after the band and the aging icon formed a tentative bond when they performed together at the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary concert. The reviews were predominantly bad. Lou wrote all the words, and he and Metallica shared credit for the music.

It opens with Brandenburg Gate, which I happen to quite like — until the band comes in after a minute. This is a union which simply doesn’t work. Lou’s spoken-word vocals — low in the mix — frequently get lost while Metallica bash away with their big, dark chords. The quieter sections work really well, but the metal ruins it. It’s a case of mutually assured destruction. Lou ruins the metal and metal ruins the Lou. It is the musical equivalent of driving a Ferrari in shit pants, or perhaps Don’t Worry Kyoko.

Pumping Blood is cool at times. Mostly, and predominantly, it’s annoying and relentless. This is a record you need to hear… once. But for Christ sake, don’t buy it.



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Area Resident is an Ottawa-based journalist, recording artist, music collector and re-seller. Hear (and buy) his music on Bandcamp, email him HERE, follow him on Instagram and check him out on Discogs.