Calling the universally panned Lou Reed / Metallica collaboration, ‘Lulu’, “an experiment in ‘phenomenology,’ much like the Andre The Giant sticker campaign by artist Shepard Fairey,”, Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick argues the album is in the rich tradition of confrontational works like John & Yoko’s ‘Two Virgins’, Lou’s “Metal Machine Music’, Pat Metheney’s ‘Zero Tolerance For Silence’ and John Cage’s ‘4:33′. As opposed to, say Chris Gaines’ ‘Greatest Hits’.
One way to view ‘Lulu’ is the type of album that very few musical acts get to do — the 1% or less who reach that highest level, commercially and financially. These albums can only be done by acts who maintain their own creative control and feel the artistic impulses to challenge the very system that put them where they are. With METALLICA’s legacy secured, you can say they’ve earned the right to have a little fun and prove that they can do whatever the fuck they want to, as long as it’s done strategically (very wise that an ‘official’ METALLICA album is planned, soon to follow).
“Projects like ‘Lulu’ exist to challenge the norm and can only be pulled off by mega-successful acts at the top of their genre with a heightened artistic awareness. They are enjoyable and admirable purely as phenomena to be pondered, observed and discussed rather than listened to. They leave hardcore fans horrified at worst, scratching their heads at best.
“‘Two Virgins’, ‘Metal Machine Music’, ‘Zero Tolerance For Silence’, ‘4:33’ and now ‘Lulu’. Important career milestones? Absolutely. Must-have recordings for hardcore collectors? Without a doubt. Worth repeating listenings? Absolutely not.