Posts tagged “Lou Reed

The 2011 “Listen Up!” Awards: Handing Out The Harleys

So here we are, entering the home stretch of the year 2011. And if you actually believe that whole stupid Mayan apocalypse theory, we’re entering the home stretch of the human race. On that happy note, we’re going to be seeing some year-end lists popping up some time in the next couple of weeks. I figure I might as well submit my own, but just as I did last time I’ll be looking at unconventional categories (read: totally arbitrary distinctions that I made up myself). It’s time for the 2011 Harleys!

Who's a good little award statuette? YOU ARE! Come here and let me scratch you!

The fun begins, as always, after the jump. Bring on the first award!

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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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When Bad Songs Happen To Good Bands #4

I suppose it’s fitting that Pop is the album where U2 embraced irony the most, because it’s perhaps U2’s least popular album ever. I say “perhaps” because at least people might still be able to name a song from it. Quick — name a song from October. Any song from October. You have ten seconds and you’re not allowed to look at iTunes, Wikipedia, Amazon, or any other site that would give you the answers. Oh, and the title track doesn’t count.

Just how un-beloved is Pop? Even U2 themselves have all but abandoned this album. Only five of its 12 songs have been performed live since the PopMart Tour in 1997. They even stopped playing a few songs from Pop during the tour that was meant to promote it! The only Pop song they’ve played live in full since 2001 is “Discotheque.” And before they released All That You Can’t Leave Behind, the “comeback” album that “brought them back to their roots,” they said, “We’re reapplying for the position of best band in the world.” Translation: “Hey guys! Sorry Pop sucked so much! Our bad! Here, look, we’re going to stop all this wacky experimentation now! It’s okay to like us again!” Cue the opening chords of “Beautiful Day.”

Of course, when an experimental album contains the worst song of said band’s career, it’s easier to understand when people condemn them for stepping out of their comfort zone. That’s the kind of thing that happens… When Bad Songs Happen To Good Bands.

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