Someone 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.”
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 andwouldn’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.
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.