We Love to Hate Nickelback (and Lulu)

Two recent bad decisions—one in Detroit, one on an album—bring out the knives

After listening to Lulu repeatedly—quite the undertaking in a world on fast-forward—I softened, somewhat, to the charms lurking underneath its prickly exterior, and found hooks here and there and appreciated the spry basslines of Robert Trujillo. (The occasional bleats by James Hetfield and the "edgy" modifications to Wedekind's text spewed out by Reed, not so much.) But by the time I'd come to that realization, the chatter had moved on; Lulu had come out to lackluster first-week sales, closing the book on it until, say, five years from now, when some intrepid critic will try to herald it as a lost classic. The speed of the cycle is, on one level, understandable—there's so much stuff out there that it's easier to mobilize discourse around disliked cultural products, as opposed to things people have enjoyed, or even sat on a bit and had a generally mixed reaction to. But it's a shame that it's difficult to imagine what would happen if, instead of an anti-Nickelback petition, the frustrated Detroit folks had tried to come to a pro-anyone consensus, and if Lulu had been more harmonious, it might not have acquired half the ink it did, despite the pedigrees of its principals.

Lou Reed and Metallica: Gleeful chaos
Anton Corbijin
Lou Reed and Metallica: Gleeful chaos

mjohnston@villagevoice.com

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