The Lou Reed/Metallica collaboration album Lulu was, without a doubt, the most talked about release in the metal community this year. Months before material was released to the public, many metalheads had already condemned Lulu to be the biggest atrocity to happen to music in a very long time (or, at least since the latest Morbid Angel album). These early naysayers only had their suspicions confirmed when official reviews far and wide critically panned the album.
When I think about just how weighty and ill-received Lulu is, no similar situations in recent memory come to mind. The latest Morbid Angel was pretty ill-received across the board, but not with so much extremity and vitriol as Lulu, which is especially telling considering Metallica already faced career-suicide with St. Anger. Even if Metallica’s career had ended after St. Anger, it would not have mattered much as they’re still responsible for one of the best-selling metal albums in history (the black album) as well as three of the greatest metal albums ever recorded (Ride The Lighting, Master of Puppets and …And Justice For All). So, why do “Loutallica”? The answer is simple: Because they can.
As mentioned before, the most often overlooked detail here—and perhaps the most important factor from a metal perspective—is that Lulu is not a Metallica album. Metallica is featured on a Lou Reed album almost as though they were his studio band. While it’s not definitive just how much say Metallica had in the creative and recording processes, there’s a quote from Kirk Hammett that sums it up completely: it’s “not 100 percent a Metallica record. It’s a recording project, let’s put it that way.” If an artist you respect came up to you and your band and said “Hey, would you like to record this album with me?” would you accept? Of course you would.