Lulu (Lou Reed – Artist Of The Year Part 25)

This was the album I wasn’t looking forward to. When I decided to examine Lou Reed’s solo career this year Lulu was the album I was looking forward to the least. I am not a fan of Metallica.

Lulu is a collaboration between Lou Reed and Metallica. I understand the two wanting to work together. I just couldn’t get past my dislike for Metallica to pick this up even though the idea of heavy metal Lou Reed greatly interested me.

Thematically the songs are based on or inspired by a German playwright Frank Wedekind’s “Lulu” plays – two plays that tell one story about the title character, her rise and fall from grace, or at least a version of what “grace” could be (prominence, popularity, social  standing, whatever).

One of the songs was released as a single, but the video for it is a couple of minutes shorter than the song as it appears on the album. You get the idea though, and some of the “fat” is trimmed off making for a more “streamlined” song, and there are a few of the songs that would have benefited from such treatment.

Spread over two discs the whole song cycle lasts almost 90 minutes. I didn’t dislike the album as much as I had feared, and probably would have enjoyed it a lot more if I was familiar with the plays the songs are based on or inspired by. Actually, this would have made a great rock opera.

As a Lou Reed fan I was intrigued by this release, but being unfamiliar with the source material, the original plays, none of it resonated with me. Lulu felt like a story your friend tells you about someone they heard  about but don’t actually know, but expect you to know. At least that was my experience with it.

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