by Felicia DeInnocentiis | Staff Writer
“Lulu” – Lou Reed & Metallica – dropped Nov. 1
Following a suspenseful build-up by enthusiastic writers in Rolling Stone and various music forums, I was unsure of what exactly to expect from this duo. I at least expected cohesion, which the album definitely lacks.
Lou Reed, frontman of the influential 1960’s art-punk band The Velvet Underground, collaborates with the members of Metallica to originate a hybrid from the best of both genres: Reed’s abstract lyrics and narrative vocals augmented with Metallica’s fast-tempo thrash, along with James Hetfield, Metallica’s lead singer, doing backing vocals. Unfortunately, the sounds end up clashing. As the band does what they do best-playing hard and in unison, as in the song “Dragon”- Reed begins to talk over the track. An angry rant on an “idiot’s idiocy,” giving the album “Def Poetry Jam from Hell” vibe. Most of the songs have the same vocal formula by Reed, which are hit and miss in and of themsle, but some are too much. In “Brandenburg Gates” and “Cheat on Me,” Reed borderlines actual singing and sounding like your drunken father who decided to do Open-Mic-Night to a Metallica song. Aside from Reed, the instrumentals are great, and Hetfield is commendable for adhering Reed’s metaphysical lyrics to the songs. The one song that really made sense was “Junior Dad,” where the bands pace slowed by 100 and Reed’s voice swayed and sang in a coo with nostalgic “Velvet” fashion. All in all, this could of had the potential to be an interesting Metallica album, with Reed’s lyrics; but for a Velvet fan like myself, it was a disappointment.
“Ceremonials” – Florence and the Machine – dropped Nov. 1
The sophomore follow-up to the her hit introduction, “Lungs”, Florence Welsh and her band “The Machine” really unleash their inner potential for a better, matured album. “Ceremonials” is lovesick, a gospel-infused proclamation from Welsh that shouldn’t be overlooked. Her vocal dynamics have really topped anything from “Lungs,” enough to have her in the same soul-filled category as Adele’s “21.” From songs like “Lover to Lover” and “All This and Heaven Too,” she keeps it whimsical and mystic, but also somber, in a way so you have her full undivided attention. My personal favorite is “Bed Hymns,” where the band involves a series of drumstick-clacking and complex beats throughout the song. Although her style change is definitely noticeable, it’s a fresh transition.