Magazine article The New Yorker

A Real Lulu

Magazine article The New Yorker

A Real Lulu

Article excerpt

The announcement earlier this year of a collaboration between Lou Reed and Metallica was met with everything from excitement to horror to uncontrollable giggling. The news that the album would be based on Frank Wedekind's Lulu plays--a pair of taboo-smashing works from the fin de siecle about the rise and fall of a highly sexual young woman--only intensified reactions at both ends of the spectrum, as did Reed's assertion that the album, "Lulu" (Warner Bros.), was the "best thing I ever did."

"Brandenburg Gate" opens the album with an acoustic guitar, not typical for a Metallica record. Enter Lou, singing as his female protagonist: "I would cut my legs and tits off when I think of Boris Karloff and Kinski in the dark of the moon." The band then lumbers in, Lars Ulrich pummelling the drums as James Hetfield repeatedly yowls "small-town girl." That's the recipe for much of the record: Reed's willfully prosaic poetry, the band in full grind, Hetfield singing the hook. On "The View," Reed employs the Dylan billow, making the most of his one-note range by puffing up certain words for emphasis: "I am a chorus of the voices that gather up the magnets set before me. …

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