Posts tagged “Least Essential Albums

Watch That First Step, Mac – It’s A Lulu

I’m not entirely sure how eager people were to hear the results of a collaboration between Lou Reed and Metallica. To just about anyone outside the studio in which Lulu, the fruit of this collaboration, was conceived, this seemed like a mismatch of epic proportions. Reed is a long-tenured experimental art-rocker from the Velvet Underground and is also known for solo hits like “Walk On The Wild Side” and “Perfect Day.” And Metallica – well, who isn’t familiar with Metallica on some level? They’re titans of heavy metal who need no introduction. The artists themselves seem pretty excited though – they decided to work together after performing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary concert and have been hyping this record as one of the highlights of each of their careers.

I’m not familiar with the work of Lou Reed. I know him as the guy who did “Walk On The Wild Side” and inexplicably thought it was a good idea to release a double album filled with nothing but guitar feedback; I wouldn’t know a Velvet Underground song if it pulled a Mike Tyson and bit my ear off. Meanwhile, I see myself as a casual fan of Metallica. I dig their first five records, I like a few of the Load/ReLoad era singles, I think St. Anger is irredeemably flawed and yet still an honest artistic expression, and Death Magnetic is a step in the right direction. I was only somewhat curious to hear what Reed and Metallica would sound like together. But that curiosity was especially piqued when early reviews proclaimed that Lulu was now officially the worst thing Metallica’s name had ever been attached to – yes, St. Anger had finally been bested (or is that worsted?). I simply had to experience this thing for myself.

Let’s get my verdict out of the way right now: Lulu is an absolutely terrible album. It’s still streaming online as I write this, but please take my word for it. Don’t listen to this.

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Now That’s What I Call A Cash-In!

I’m sure everyone is familiar with the Now That’s What I Call Music series of compilation CDs that come out with a new edition every few months or so. The series began in the United States around ten years ago, which was a good 15 years after the franchise as a whole was founded in the UK back in 1983. The US version of the Now series has just reached its 31st installment, which was released last week and is currently at #14 on the iTunes Top Albums chart.

You mean I can get all the most overplayed songs on MTV and the radio for 12 bucks on iTunes instead of listening to them on MTV or the radio for free? And no commercials between the songs? SIGN ME UP!

The Now series, of course, collects all of the most ubiquitous Top 40 radio hits from the last few months and puts them all on one disc for your convenience. I can understand why people might have snapped these up back in the days of the Internet’s infancy, before iTunes and Amazon and torrents and file-sharing became household words. The artists featured on these CDs tend to make albums that only have a couple decent songs surrounded by forgettable filler, so why not grab a CD that only gives you the song you actually want to hear?

The answer comes after the jump.

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