Lou Reed and Metallica, Lulu (Vertigo)
Im still not sure if this is the worst piece of junk to be produced in album form in the last 20 years, or genius at a level so brilliant its beyond my mere mortal capacity to appreciate it. But Im still leaning toward the former.
This is a concept album (Warning! Warning!) based on two century-old works by German playwright Frank Wedekind, Earth Spirit and Pandoras Box, which tell the story of a young abused dancers life and relationships. It is disturbing, annoying, grating and sometimes downright unlistenable. Its also powerful, brutal and more than an hour and a half long.
Reed, he of the venerable Velvet Underground and best known for the counterculture anthem Walk On The Wild Side, dishes out spoken poetry for most of the record, which, believe it or not, is a good thing: as a vocalist, Reed makes Bob Dylan sound like Freddie Mercury. On the few instances where he actually does sing, its completely bereft of melody, tone or timing.
Reed channels rage, lust, fear, jealousy, insecurity and a host of other emotions, layering them over pounding, riff-laden Metallica music for about half the disc. The other half is set to backward guitar parts, strings or just general dissonance. The closing track, Junior Dad, clocks in at more than 19 minutes.
Suffice it to say theres no Enter Sandman, Master Of Puppets or even Fuel here. This is 1960s coffee-shot beat poetry set to skull-crushing riffs or psychedelic haze. If you must listen to this, it probably makes sense only if youre extremely high.
Check this track out: Cheat On Me, is almost Beatles-esque in its droning repetition, a la I Want You (Shes So Heavy). Asking the same question over and over: Why do I cheat on me? it finally arrives at the answer: Because I have no one else.