Screw Lou Reed

lou-reed

Credit: LimeFridays

lulu-coverSomeone asked me the other day how the critics have received the Metallica/Lou Reed collaboration/monstrosity known as LULU. Not really following this and having not covered the album myself, I had to answer, “I’m not sure, but I doubt it’s been placed on a pedestal of accomplishment.” I then proceeded to Google it and I came across an article that wasn’t as much shocking as it was laughable, but, in the end, it just pissed me off (which it shouldn’t, because I don’t care).

Basically, Lou Reed said that he doesn’t care what the critics say about LULU (that’s fair, and now I’m thinking I’ve been challenged) and that he writes for himself, which is to say that he doesn’t write for the critics (again, fair) and, I’ll assume, not for his fans either (not fair):

“I never wrote for [the critics] then, I don’t write for them now. I have no interest in what they have to say about anything. I’m interested in whether I like it. I write for me.”

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If it were true that he didn’t care what the critics said of his work, on LULU or in general, he wouldn’t be aware of any negative reactions, he’d just know if there was a good picture alongside the article. A person who doesn’t care doesn’t have such intense reactions fueled with so much anger. Lou Reed is being reactionary, which is probably not an entirely bad thing, despite his coming off like a jackass (but so is his reputation); his comments and temperament are causing people to continue to talk about LULU beyond its life expectancy.

If Lou Reed were truly writing for himself, he and Metallica wouldn’t have released LULU. They would have recorded it, had a listening party, and then locked it up… until it was time to release an overpriced box set of rare and unreleased material and have critics praise it as a work of genius wondering why the two forces didn’t release it after its completion.

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Another incendiary and insulting comment from Lou Reed includes, “This is for people who are literate.” I guess since he writes for himself he can consider his work high-art, and while I do respect him as a “poet,” I also know that he’ll never be included in any literary canon. Maybe he didn’t do LULU for record sales, but he’s certainly not helping them move off the shelf, and for that, if I were in charge at Vertigo (that’s the label), I’d be a little pissed off at the dude.

While Lou Reed might be taking the criticism personally, and he has a right to since no one works that hard to be told that his efforts are worth shit, he has to realize that critics and the general public are viewing LULU as a Metallica project and being harsh because Metallica is taking risks when they should be playing it safe.

Dude, it’s just music. Get over yourself. While you might be more literate than many journalists, you’ll be dead soon, and we’ll still be criticizing you.

Rock Hard!

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  • casual reader

    Just heard of his death and did a google search on Lou Reed and.found this article. Now, in reading it, I wonder what the author would think in reading the last two sentences. Who knew?

    • Evil Argento here — author of the above. Man, LULU feels like a distant memory. Hard to believe it was roughly two years ago. Well, I certainly wish no ill upon any man, and find it a sad day indeed. I don’t think there was anything dark or ominous in what I said… I guess the dead part was harsh, but it’s a fact that Reed’s work will continue to be criticized posthumously. Seriously, it’s rare to have a career as long as he had and not be good at it or do something right, and when you, as an artist, put your work out there, you have to expect criticism. RIP

  • Steve bridgeman

    I’m not sure what qualifies you to question Lou Reed’s creative motivation but one thing is for sure, if you’re more interested in how many units artists are shifting then I suggest you tune into X factor. Lou Reed may be dead now but people will remember his contribution to the world of music and art and not yours.

    • To that end, what qualifies anyone to question someone’s creative motivation Everything is about a larger discussion, and I’m sure you’ve read some glowing stuff about Lou Reed, and the sum of all you’ve read and what you’ve thought on your own equates to your opinion. I don’t care about how many albums an artist sells in the sense that you mean, but I do care because it validates their work and hopefully means more from them. Granted, neither Reed nor Metallica need validation at this point in their careers. And to address your final point: I certainly hope people will remember Reed’s contribution to music more than mine — it’d be an ass-backward world if they didn’t.