Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Cynic's Musical Side: Lulu

I don't like Metallica. I know, shocker, right? I don't hate them, and some of their early stuff is pretty good, but I'm mostly indifferent to them. I'm also pretty indifferent to Lou Reed. I know that a lot of my fellow music geeks are going to want to kill me for saying that, but it's true. I've tried really hard to like his music, and while I can admire the tunes, arrangements, and lyrics of a few of his songs, I just can't get past his singing voice. I've never been one to harp on talented musicians for having singing voices that aren't conventionally good- I'm a fan of so many of them: Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, and Dr. John to name a few- but at least those artists at least have interesting voices that suit the character of their music. Lou Reed's voice just puts me to sleep; it's so lethargic and monotonous, as if he's constantly bored with the state of his music. But enough about that. The important thing is that Metallica and Lou Reed have made an album together, and regardless of how I feel about both artists, that's just such a weird idea- such a bizarre pairing- that I just had to hear what it sounded like. With a concept like that, their album Lulu could only be two things: it'd either be a complete train wreck or pure genius.

Spoiler alert: it's a complete train wreck. Oh, but what a train wreck it is...

Think of the pantheon of hilariously awful music: Rebecca Black. Any of William Shatner's songs. These guys. I heartily believe that Lulu will soon be added to this pantheon. Reed's bored monotone pairs with thrash metal exactly as well as you think, in that it doesn't. Not a bit. But that doesn't matter when you're listening to Lulu, because you'll be laughing too hard to notice. This album is one of the greatest works of musical comedy ever made, though I seriously doubt that Reed and Metallica indended it to be that way. But how can you not laugh at an album that opens with the line "I would cut my legs and tits off when I think of Boris Karloff", and wants you to take it completely seriously? And it only gets worse- or better, depending on how you view it- from there. The last track, "Junior Dad" is promising, being the only track on the album where Reed's voice fits, but with a run time of almost twenty minutes, it eventually gets old.

In the end, I'm really, really glad that I didn't spend any money on this (you can listen to the entire album on their website), but I'm also glad that I decided to listen to it. Lulu is seriously one of the most awful, stupid, and ludicrously entertaining ideas I've ever heard. I would be cringing if it weren't so damn funny. I'm sure that it will have it's fans- after all, there are people out there who legitamately like Ke$ha- but for the rest of us, prepare yourselves to be confused; to laugh but not really understand. To want to both gouge your ears out and thank the world that Lulu exists. To both hate yourself for ever wanting to hear this, and to profusely thank your curiosity. I urge you to not, under any circumstances, buy this album, but I also urge you to go out and hear at least part of it, if only so you'll actually believe me when I say it happened. Grade: D-

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