The Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame's 25th Anniversary Concert, (October 2009) started this mess. For it was this weekend, at a breathlessly packed Madison Square Garden, that two disparate rock sensations, Lou Reed and Metallica high fived over an unprovoked collaboration album. While the music world covered the news with undisputed anticipation, and quite understandable curiosity ("What could the world’s hugest metal band and the co-founder of the avant-rock deities the Velvet Underground possibly have in common," said Ben Sisario of The New York Times on October 27, 2011) the fan base was dubious from the start. In either case, Lulu came and saw, but far from conquered.
The amalgam of reviews from the web have been considerably negative. Pitchfork uncharacteristically gave the album a 1.0 out 10. Stuart Berman of Pitchfork stated that "Lou Reed and Metallica barely sound like they're on the same planet, let alone in the same room." Berman then concluded the album to be a "noble failure." The always-entertaining Chuck Klosterman held a similar view. "If the Red Hot Chili Peppers acoustically covered the 12 worst Primus songs for Starbucks, it would still be (slightly) better than this." Fan reviews ranged anywhere from numerically disparaging (a users aggregate 2.1 out of 10 on MetroCritic) to, um.. felonious. Reed cited a barrage of death threats from Metallica fans in response to the partnership. Ouch.
So just weeks into Lulu's inglorious release, the rock giants have just announced their signing of avant garde film maker, Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler, Requiem for a Dream) to direct the first music video for Lulu's second single, Iced Honey. The musicians though appear deliberately, and oddly artistically, impervious to the widespread ridicule of Lulu. Marching right along with what appears to be misinformed excitement, Reed hopes for the video to be "Aronofsky's next Black Swan." While Metallica drummer, Lars Ulrich, delighted publicly too: "As if making a record with Lou Reed is not enough, now I get to make a video with Darren Aronofsky, who has been among my very favorite filmmakers since his first movie,Pi." The video's release is expected in late November.
In a collaboration that was meant to inspire irony in the first place, perhaps Darren's role is a fitting twist to this mind boggling tale. Keeping with the theme of paradox, the worst of 2011 (rated by Pitchfork & MetroCritic) pairs with the best. We love you anyway, Darren. On second thought, chuck Natalie & Mila back in there,.. and all will be forgiven.