Metallica

In Defense Of: Lou Reed & Metallica- Lulu

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There is an album that came out back in 2011, that the world seemed to really take a rather negative turn on. You’ve all heard about the collaboration of the great Lou Reed and the mighty Metallica and their album Lulu. The majority of people that heard the album immediately called it atrocious and worthless. I’m probably, no, I am in the minority of people out there that actually like the album. Now before I tell you why I dig it, let me give you a little backstory on how all this came to be.

The inception of this collaboration began in 2009 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concert. Metallica was chosen to perform with a variety of different artists from the rock world. Lou Reed was one of the rock contemporaries that joined Metallica on stage for a renditions of The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane” and “White Light/White Heat.”  After the show Lou suggested to the band that they should work together. It wouldn’t be until 2011 that this finally came to fruition. Metallica was originally brought in to re-record various unreleased songs Lou Reed had written. There were a batch of songs that Lou had from a piece of work called Lulu, based on the plays of German playwright Frank Wedekind. Metallica brought a slew of different arrangements to the table and the rest played out with the band and Lou working together to create the album. Lulu is a piece of art that is very misunderstood. The full story of where the material comes from is quite dark and horrific and comes from a place that most people wouldn’t dare tread. There are two pieces Earth Spirit and Pandora’s Box that sum up all the parts of what Lulu is all about.

 

The critics of the music world truly denounced the album calling it one of the worst albums of all time. This is where I come to the albums defense. First of all, if you are not a Lou Reed fan, you are one, not going to like this album, two, if you’ve never listened to Lou Reed, you won’t “get” this, and three Lou had picked Metallica to be his backing band on this project due to the intensity of the content that Lou had written based on these plays. As a Lou Reed fan since I was a very young child, when I first heard about this collaboration, I was overjoyed. I was going to get to hear two of my favorites working together. Lou has and always will be one of the best songwriters of all time. His influence since the late 60’s is astounding. Many bands wouldn’t exist today if it weren’t for Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground. Lou has always been an unorthodox artist. Anyone that has taken the time to delve into his catalog can attest to that. The choice of Metallica for this project is one that is pretty astounding. Having a band that has gone against the status quo for most of their career link up with a guy like Lou is like kismet. The 5 of these guys created an album that is an art piece through and through. It’s not a Metallica album. This is a Lou Reed album.

If you were Metallica and one of rocks biggest titans asked you to work with them on a project, you’d jump at the chance to do that. You know you would. To the guys in Metallica, this was one of those instances when doing this would be fulfilling artistically. Metallica has never been a band about quantity, thankfully. They spend time crafting their material. Some of their output hasn’t been what the “fans” wanted, i.e. Load, Reload and St. Anger but, they have always stuck to their guns and did what they felt was right.
Don’t be so quick to dismiss this album. It’s very involved and not for everyone that’s for sure. Lou Reed isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but if you give him a chance and take a deep look into the works of Lou, it will all make sense. Lou was an artist first and foremost. His lyrics told stories and hit on subjects many would find taboo. One day I will write up a whole thing about the greatness that was Lou Reed so you all can really delve into his works.

Lulu is like scotch, it’s acquired taste. As I’ve mentioned already, this is not an easy listen and you should not be expecting a Metallica album. If you really want to give this a chance, I highly recommend looking into what the plays are all about then go in knowing this is Lou Reed’s album with Metallica as his backing band.

Lou Reed & Metallica- Lulu:

 

Lou Reed and Metallica- Live:

 

 

 

Lou Reed and Metallica- Sweet Jane (Live):

 

 

Lou Reed and Metallica- White Light/White Heat (Live):

 

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Great Music Videos: Metallica- One

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It’s really interesting and crazy to think that the first music video Metallica ever did was on their fourth album And Justice For All for the song “One.” I remember seeing it for the first time when I was about four years old and thinking that this was awesome. This video was without a doubt groundbreaking at the time as well as responsible for the beginning of making Metallica a household name.

The video for “One” was directed by Bill Pope and Michael Salomon and it debuted on MTV, January 20th, 1989. Something else that is quite interesting about this video is that there were three versions made. The first (the longest, album version) contained scenes of both the band and scenes from the film Johnny Got His Gun. The second was simply a shortened version of the first, and the third, often known as the “jammin’ version”, lacked scenes from the movie (the song and video fades at the last bridge in the third version).

“One” was the perfect song and video to really introduce Metallica to households across the world. The video to this day almost 30 years later is still impactful and chilling, which is what makes it such a great video.

 

Metallica- One (from And Justice For All):

 

 

 

 

 

Cover Song: Machine Head (Metallica)- Battery

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A few years back, Kerrang magazine put out a Metallica tribute compilation. On that comp a ton of bands like Machine Head, Mastodon, Chimaira, Trivium and a few others. The Mastodon cover of “Orion” is top notch. Machine Head’s version of “Battery” is pretty damn solid.

Check it out!

 

Machine Head- Battery:

Cover Song: Metallica (Queen)- Stone Cold Crazy

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I was listening back to the Garage Inc Metallica album the other day on my way home from work. While listening it got me thinking about how many great covers Metallica did on that album. There are quite a few songs they covered that in my opinion are better than the original. For example their version of Bob Seger’s “Turn The Page,” as well as their version of Queen’s “Stone Cold Crazy” is quite possibly better than the original.

 

Metallica- Stone Cold Crazy:

 

Queen- Stone Cold Crazy:

End Of Album Songs: Metallica

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What else is there to say about Metallica that hasn’t already been said? Over the past few days I’ve been on a Metallica kick, and while listening back to all their albums (yes even St. Anger), I noticed how strong their ending songs all are. From their newest, “Spit Out The Bone,” all the way back to “Metal Militia” and probably the best one “The Outlaw Torn,” there is no doubting Metallica knows how to properly end an album.
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Audioeclectica Radio Episode 3

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Episode 3 of Audioeclectica Radio is here. This episode is quite a good one. It’s full of lots of eclectic music and bands for your listening pleasure. I hope you enjoy what I’ve picked for you all.

I’d also like to shout out my friend and fellow listener Ben, he made the new title card (the above picture) for the show and it looks awesome and badass!! So thank you Ben!

Don’t forget this show is totally interactive. So if you have any requests for certain bands/songs or even topics you’d like for me to elaborate on, send me a message or leave a comment in the comments section.

Enjoy the show!

Your host and curator,

Brian

 

Audioeclectica Radio Episode 3: