102: Lulu

If you're wondering about St. Anger in the second panel, Metallica intentionally kept the sound quality poor on the album in order to give it a "garage band feel."  In addition, Lars Ulrich turned off the snares on his drum.  He said he liked the way it sounded that way, but in reality it sounded much worse than with the snares on, and distracted from what were otherwise good songs.  Metallica tried to experiment with their sound on St. Anger, but the end result was a very poor album.

But the real point of this comic is the album Lulu, which was released two weeks ago.  The album consists of Lou Reed reciting poetry in spoken-word form, with Metallica providing music for the background.  Before I begin, I should tell you that I'm holding it up to the standards of traditional music/rock albums, as opposed to spoken-word albums.  This leaves me with an understandable bias against Lulu, which falls completely flat in the music department.  The album is, frankly, very, very bad.  Lou Reed's vocals, because I can't call it singing, sound terrible.  He recites his lyrics in a manner that's halfway BETWEEN speaking and singing; if he had chosen one or the other it would have been better, but instead it sounds awkward and incredibly boring.  Metallica meanwhile is playing thrashy metal riffs behind him, or otherwise light acoustic ambience.  Some of the riffs that Metallica play are very good, but they serve only as a nice break between Lou Reed's vocals.  On other tracks, though, Metallica is playing noise that can't adequately be called music.  The album suffers a lot from that problem; most of the tracks would be hard to classify as actual songs.  There are only two types of tracks on Lulu:  1) Metallica plays the same good riff for the whole song while Lou Reed gives his vocals.  2) Metallica plays the same bad riff for the whole song while Lou Reed gives his vocals.  Note that Metallica plays the same riff throughout the whole song, whether it's a good one or bad one.

I love Metallica.  But this is a terrible experiment.  The album Lulu gets an abysmal score of 2/10.  The moments when Metallica is playing a good riff and Lou Reed isn't speaking make it worth the 2.  Otherwise the album would be a zero.  Now, even though Lou Reed's vocals are bad, I do love what he said in response to his negative reviews.  When asked how his fans would feel about the album, he said, "I don't have any fans left.  After I started writing this kind of music in 1975, they all fled.  So who cares?  I'm essentially in this for the fun of it."  That's hilarious and oh so true, so props to Lou Reed for knowing where he stands and for doing what he wants.  Lulu the album?  2/10.  Lou Reed's response?  10/10.

www.strassner.com www.flashbackmedia.tv