“The View,” the first full song from Lou Reed and Metallica (dubbed LouTallica), hit iTunes today. When the musicians announced the project in June, Rolling Stone’s David Fricke wrote, “It was an improbable match: Lou Reed‘s cutting-monotone voice and explicit stories of desire and despair, lashed to Metallica‘s apocalyptic charge.” But this musical pairing seemed promising.
According to the project’s website, the plays “Earth Spirit” and “Pandora’s Box,” by German expressionist Frank Wedekind, ignited Reed’s inspiration for the album. They both focus on a young abused dancer’s life and relationships. The album is named after the girl, Lulu. Reed originally planned a theatrical production, but after meeting the boys from Metallica, he invited them to record the 10 songs that make up Lulu.
If “The View” indicates what the rest of the album will sound like, then Reed may have been better off sticking to his original plan. On the track, Reed speak/sings overtop of a driving Metallica riff. The dark, egocentric lyrics about youth, beauty, immorality, death, worship and truth fit the music, but the problem is in the delivery. It sounds like Reed slapped his slow, talking vocals onto some random Metallica music. While I can appreciate juxtapositions of dissimilar sounds, it doesn’t work here. The riff remains constant as Reed’s speaking arbitrarily changes tempo. Only when the music amps up and Reed goes into a singing scream does the song sound cohesive.
I actually prefer Lou Reed’s Metal Music Machine. However, an entire album can’t be judged on one song. Lulu is due out in North America November 1.
Listen to “The View” below: