The controversial experimental collaboration album by Metallica and Lou Reed, Lulu, was officially released yesterday, and seemingly everyone on the Internet has an opinion on it. In the lead up to the much talked about release, critics waxed lyrical about Lulu with many a no-holds-barred, acerbic commentary surfacing in its wake. Every music critic armed with a blog and dexterous typing hand has weighed in on the collaboration, what it tells us about the music industry, and what ‘quality’ means in a world where the fruits of creative process are both disposable and necessary. Overwhelmingly, opinions have been unfavorable.
VH1 spoke to James Hetfield, Metallica front man about the release, and the artist was optimistic, reiterating how much he, Lou and the band enjoyed creating the album, and specifically how much they love the finished product. He goes on to acknowledge the criticism, saying, “at the end of the day all of this is about us writing music that we enjoy listening to, and if other people enjoy it, that’s awesome, and if they don’t — there’s certainly people out there that don’t as well — then move onto the next thing.”
Unfortunately for Hetfield, it’s this very sentiment that many of the critics have latched onto as the fatal flaw of the album. In a thought-provoking and witty analysis of Lulu for Grantland, Chuck Klosterman has this to say: “The reason Lulu is so terrible is because the people making this music clearly don’t care if anyone else enjoys it. Now, here again — if viewed in a vacuum — that sentiment is admirable and important. But we don’t live in a vacuum. We live on Earth. And that means we have to accept the real-life consequences of a culture in which recorded music no longer has monetary value, and one of those consequences is Lulu.” It seems like poor old MetalliLou (see what we did there?) are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.