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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

No Dummy

More Details on Metallica/Lou Reed Collaboration

Metallica and Lou Reed have announced full details and packaging information for Lulu the artists' first collaborative effort.

The album, slated for an Oct. 31 release (Nov. 1 the rest of the world) is a song cycle based on two German plays by Franz Wiedekind. The plays, Erdgeist and Die Buchse der Pandora tell the story of a sexually aggressive woman who leaves a trail of destroyed lovers and corpses as she tears through European society. The plays are fearless in their exploration of bisexuality (one of Lulu's lovers is the lesbian Countess Geschwitz) and the seamier side of life. Eventually, Lulu becomes a prostitute and is killed by a client--Jack the Ripper.

Opera lovers might be familiar with these stories, as they form the basis for another Lulu, the opera by 20th century Austrian composer Alban Berg. Lulu was unfinished at the time of Berg's death, but the three-act version (including an experimental film and the Jack the Ripper scene) has since entered the standard repertory. It was last seen at the Met in 2010.

On the surface, Metallica and Lou Reed seems an unlikely pairing. The artists met when the San Francisco-based metal band backed Mr. Reed on two songs ("White Light, White Heat" and "Sweet Jane") at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 25th Anniversary Concert at Madison Square Garden. The collaboration began quietly but hit the press when Mr. Reed was photographed coming out of the band's Marin County headquarters.

Originally, the plan was to record some older, lesser known Lou Reed songs with Metallica's distinctive chug-and-thunder backing. But then the New York-based singer-songwriter came to the band with a different idea--setting song lyrics that he had written for a Robert Wilson production in Berlin of the Lulu plays. James Hetfield told Blabbermouth.net that he relished the opportunity to take off his lyricist hat and concentrate on the music.

Here's the final track list:

01. Brandenburg Gate (4:19)
02. The View (5:17)
03. Pumping Blood (7:24)
04. Mistress Dread (6:52)
05. Iced Honey (4:36)
06. Cheat On Me (11:26)
07. Frustration (8:33)
08. Little Dog (8:01)
09. Dragon (11:08)
10. Junior Dad (19:28)

The standard version of Lulu will be available as a 2CD set in a white DigiPak. Deluxe editions (one with poster tubes, one with a large hardbound 20-page book of photographs) will also be available for order. As with all Metallica releases, Lulu will be available on vinyl. Of course, Amazon will sell Mp3 versions of the record, and Lulu will also be available on ITunes. Lulu can also be ordered through the collaboration's official website, LouReedMetallica.Com.

All album art is by Anton Corbjin, the acclaimed photographer who has worked with Metallica since the 1994 album Load.

Click to listen to "The View", the first release from Lulu.
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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.