LULU or The Post-Modern Prometheus
Look. The way to deal with this record is this.
Put it on. Vinyl if you can spring the $40, if not then a used CD goes for $11.99 at Amoeba, and if you're really strapped you can actually still stream it legally off the website. So, do that (but the vinyl or the CD will sound a LOT better, cos mp3's, let me just slip this in here somewhere early while you're still paying attention, suck).
Turn it up. A lot. Crank it. No headphones, no dinky computer speakers. Use the best-sounding system available. Cos Lou would want you to, and I think probably so would Metallica.
If you drink whiskey, smoke pot, sniff glue, whatever, do some of that right now.
Then watch yourself recoil in horror from nearly every other lyric, straight from the first line of the first song. Notice that almost everything Lou has to say on this album makes you kind of uptight. Nervous even. Breathe in. Breathe out. Listen to the guitars and the drums - they're beautiful and they're huge. There are many shimmering harmonics, maybe just a bit like an upper-register Earth 2 with drums and... agggghhh... more lyrics that make you squirm!
Just sit there for the duration and watch your brains cook, and if you have the balls to do so, grow a little. I don't mean that you should learn to be OK with every sentiment expressed on this unsettlingest of all possible records. I mean that you should learn a little bit about what upsets you, and what doesn't, and why. And in between you should enjoy some seriously pulverizing distilled essence of ROCK.
What I'd like to say, what I'm going to try to tell you, is this:
Like it or hate it, Lulu is a solid piece of work. It has conceptual integrity. It is not a stupid accident or a record company whim. It stands up and cooks with it. If Lulu is a desperate bid for attention on anyone's part, that is only incidental.
I found this quote from H. L. Mencken on page one of a book about Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman and Miles Davis, three artists who spent or are continuing to spend much of their careers fighting the constraints of their alleged "genre," in the process either expanding or destroying the boundaries of their culturally-imposed cage:"The really competent critic must be an empiricist... It is his business to provoke the reaction between the work of art and the spectator. The spectator, untutored, stands unmoved; he sees the work of art but it fails to make any intelligible impression on him; if he were spontaneously sensitive to it, there would be no need for criticism. But now comes the critic with his catalysis. He makes the work of art live for the spectator... Out of the process comes understanding, appreciation, intelligent enjoyment..." - H. L. Mencken, "Criticism Of Criticism Of Criticism" (1918)If the connection to Lulu isn't apparent, let me attempt to draw it for you:
Lou Reed and Metallica dropped this loud & disturbing pile of visceral black goo with a maximum of premeditated viral promo and public chest-beating. I'm sure they had some gist of an idea as to what the reaction was going to be. But they also knew they'd done the best work they could by the standards they'd set for themselves, and they had fun doing it (see what they did, there?).
All the articles I read around the time of Lulu's release were either mindlessly positive (it's art! isn't that great?) or scathingly negative, sometimes brilliantly so. It is not news that nothing brings out the muse like an item we can hate safely and in public.
But I didn't see anything that so much as tried to explain what Lulu was, or was about, or why. No one offered to hold anyone's hand through a listening session. A couple of places mentioned that there was source material, but none probed too deeply into it or suggested to the casual reader/listener why this might be interesting.
And that's fine.
Like I said up above, the thing to do is just listen to the fucker. This was done, sensibly and honestly, with open and tender heart and mind, by a good friend of mine, a drummer, a metal guy who'd pretty much never heard of Lou Reed and who describes Metallica as "my heavy metal ex-girl that you can never forgive for breaking your heart."
Lulu haunted him for a while, like he'd stumbled on a rift in the universe through which he could see another, radically different reality with physics, he couldn't suss and life forms whose haunting otherness hinted at a tantalizing alien beauty or a Lovecraftian horror, and from our suddenly diminished little world it was not easy to sort out which was which. We considered for a moment that perhaps Lou just woke up one morning and said "Y'know what? Fuck Metallica!"... and the result was Lulu.
Some time and consideration later, my friend's conclusions were as follows:
"[I] think it's weird as fuck and sucks... After having time to let it settle, and even re-visit it, I think it's a bunch of crap. Just doesn't stick with me or have any emotional effect... I'm looking for [Metallica] to do something 'right' in my book. From Lou's standpoint I see it as an art piece."
Hey, at least he thought about it! So many just jerked their knees. (My friend also said he thought he might prefer Lulu to Metallica's previous release, St. Anger. But that's another story...
So what do I think?
The album opens with pristine diamond-perfect acoustic guitar tones (a Lou trademark if you follow him closely) and a deeply disturbing bit of speak-sing which requires some cultural literacy to follow. A piece called "Brandenburg Gate," which title sets a bit of the scene and the feel. Then SLAM huge 3-chord distorto-guitar-bliss-on-the-edge-of-feedback... Which has always been what I loved most about Lou, from the first Velvet Underground record onward: his love of tone and his ability to take you out of your body with it. Hetfield's backing vocal is initially comical and hard to ignore, but now that I'm over the surprise, it works just fine. I mean, if somebody's got to do it. And it's the only clearly evident melody, if that's something you care about. Lars Ulrich swings with surprising power. Everyone else is "merely" in the service of the Rock.
Second tune, "The View," slows us down to Melvins territory. Earth territory. Which I love. Such deliriously somnambulant tempos scratch a particular one of my itches that doesn't get nearly enough attention. The lyrics are (again) dark abstract poetry. Very good if you like that kind of thing. It's quality dark abstract poetry. Also lots of awesome guitar noise. Not sure who's doing that, but it's wonderful. Can I add, the harmonic overtones on the distorted guitars are very, very beautiful. I live in this soundscape. I would probably go without the vocals, or at least without the words, were it up to me. But the tones are heaven right here on earth,
Third tune, "Pumping Blood," starts with... strings? feedback? not sure. Then another huge chugging stomping riff and dark, pained, half-sung, sexually bombastic lyrics with a bluesy melodic tinge and extreme dynamics that ebb and swell over slightly more time than an A.D.D. can parse, dallying in territory on the crepuscule of free-jazz and ambient metal.
It should be clear by now if this music is for you.
Hightlights from the Lulu listening party
Lulu seems to contain no overt political content, nothing that seems to be socially redeeming or especially progressive or, on the other hand, offensively totalitarian. Judging from the source material ("Earth Spirit" and "Pandora's Box", two plays by Frank Wederkind, available here in comic book form), the original story in fact has at least one or two things to say which might be deemed useful to society, if someone can Heimlich them out of its gullet. This record, if it in fact says those things, does it in such an impenetrable manner that it might as well not say them at all but merely point mutely to the plays like the Ghosts of Furor Past.
I'm pretty sure, nonetheless, that most of the people who were upset by this record didn't take the time to listen closely, let alone track down the source material and find out what it was all about. I think most listeners stopped with astonishment at "what the fuck is this? and why should I want to deal with it beyond first blush?"
But I don't want to talk about them. They're right. Why bother if it so immediately clearly isn't your thing? Do I have to watch Jersey Shore to know I don't want it in my brain? Fuck no, I don't!
I'm talking about the people who were moved to write their first-ever Amazon review warning other unwaries to stay away from this virulent drivel, the ones who threatened Lou's life or bled out pages of truly inspired vitriol in chat rooms and blogs and webzines and major publications. I don't think most of those people took the time to study on whatever it was that bothered them so. For myself, as a living and growing and evolving being, that kind of study is essential. If a thing bothers me, I like to know why. In some cases, like Jersey Shore to belabor an example, it is easy to work out what my issues are and I don't spend much time on it. In other cases (Nirvana's In Utero, for example, or Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz, both of which took me some time to warm up to) I have to put some work into understanding the problem. Often in those instances, I come around ultimately to an appreciation of the work in question. Then again, regarding, say, the Jason Bourne movies (watched most of them, read one or two of the books, Matt Damon bothers me to this day on a deep gut level tho he redeemed himself pretty well in True Grit), there just isn't a peaceable resolution to be made. There's nothing objectively wrong with these works, but I can pin down part of what bothers me about them and that is good to know, I've found, about one's self.
I'm not sure that I like Lulu, overall. Just like I don't exactly like Lou's Berlin or Metal Machine Music or Magic & Loss. Berlin is brilliantly crafted vicious sadness; it takes the form of a series of related songs, it has characters and situations, it is dark and miserable and painful. Magic & Loss is several things, not least of which a dual eulogy and an investigation into the effects of mortality on Lou's cold, cold heart and incessantly spinning mind; also features a great band, mostly held over from Lou's more traditionally rockin' and, um, enjoyable album, New York. Metal Machine Music, on the other hand, is a perfect distillation of a set of novel ideas for presentation to a generation or two of artists in need of creative fodder (check out a performance of Ulrich Krieger's transcribed arrangement for live musicians, if noise-rock isn't your thing... whoa...). Metal Machine Music is a guitar record without the guitar.
What's Lulu, then? Let's see what a bunch of writers think.
Says Logan K Young, "...[W]ords & music. Nothing more; nothing less." Logan may have intended this to be diminutive, but I feel it cuts straight to the root of things, lays the essence bare and uncomplicated. Puts me in mind of sexual instruction I once received from an older and more experienced partner: "It's just a pussy and a cock, that's all there is to it." Two simple ingredients, make of them what you can.
Jack Partain asks: "What did people expect it to sound like? Lou Reed singing 'Fade to Black'? Metal versions of 'I'll Be Your Mirror' and 'Sunday Morning'?"
I can honestly say that I expected it to sound about like it sounds. Lou's last proper rock 'n' roll record was called Ecstasy, and the seeds of Lulu are there plainly sown within an epic and primitive blast of free-rock rant called "Possum." Go listen now, if you haven't.
I was hoping for something more melodic this time out, but I keep a close eye on Lou and I more-or-less expected my hopes to be met with scorn. So surprise was largely not a part of my reaction (disgust, yes, especially when I saw the cover art). The sonics and structural conception of Lulu are in keeping with what's been going for the past decade or two on the rocknroll side of Lou's artistic trajectory. Elsewhere, he's made a brilliant meditation record and a fantastic noise-improv double-CD... and actually those elements are also represented here. So in some way, Lulu is the greatest fulfillment to date of most aspects of Lou's vision. The one perhaps most notably absent aspect of his work is his brilliant songcraft. But that hasn't held a major part of his attention since, oh, the mid-90's at best.
Track 4, "Mistress Dread", could actually be said to resemble "thrash"... tho slightly twisted, mostly in its epic duration. High-velocity riff-rock usually strikes me as intended to shock, repeatedly and frequently. But this one's weirdly meditative, oddly hypnotic.
Hypno-thrash? You could found whole genres from the ideas on this record. As with so much of Lou's (or Metallica's?) best work. The vocal, by the way, is as honey-slow as the music is defibrillatorily intense. The lyric, again, is brilliantly written if you like that sort of thing, but in this case it's the least of my interest.
More hightlights from the Lulu listening party
OK, so let's take a look at the source materials. The gist of the storyline of the original plays is:
A beautiful and free-spirited woman (the titular Lulu) indulges her sensual whims and caprices across a variety of husbands and paramours, driving each to insanity and death. Her own life goes to shit and she goes to prison and then gets sprung through the machinations of her various lovers and ends up murdered by Jack The Ripper while turning tricks to support her weird little extended family.
The artifact itself is much more nuanced than my gross encapsulation...
I honestly haven't read the plays, or seen the movie, tho I did read part of the comic book. My impression is that Wederkind laid a steaming pile of let-women-be-freely-sexual and dropped it square on the tits of a dangerously stodgily buttoned-up epoch of European culture. He meant to stir folks up, and he succeeded. Frank Wederkind had a history of success at shit-stirring and had spent time in prison behind his poetry some years previous to the Lulu plays.
Thoughts from other pundits:
Kurt Wildermuth: "Like Dylan, Lou seems to delight in the confusion, horror, anger, and vitriol that arise when the media treats an outsider artist as a mainstream music-maker." Lou would naturally be attracted to a figure like Wederkind, who placed then-outrageous value systems into what was perhaps expected to be mainstream entertainment.
Chris Plummer has described Loutallica's Lulu as being "totally German Expressionism," which genre has been helpfully defined for me further by Linda Leseman:
"One of the chief aims of Expressionism in German theatre was to challenge established societal norms."
So the cultural backlash to Loutallica's opus is appropriate, and could even be interpreted as an essential part of the concept. Could the artists have planned for this? Or is there some ghost, some seed of eternal madness, riding sideways across time on the back of Wederkind's perverse muse? Screeching like a banshee and kicking your plastic neighbor in the teeth...
Wildermuth again: "Lou sounds like he's still exorcising whatever demon(s) caused him the grief that produced Berlin and The Blue Mask and [maybe also] 'Sister Ray,' and I'll bet most of the Lulu haters have not spent a huge amount of time absorbing the dynamics of that dank thrashfest."
Those same demons are perhaps the ones that revel in the discomfit of the normals. Partain: "[Lulu] makes me uncomfortable a lot, which I'm sure Lou enjoys since I'm a repressed Midwesterner."
Linda Leseman: "Id unleashed is not a pretty thing."
If I didn't know anything about Wederkind, which is not a far-off cry from my actual situation, I'd assume that the unhappy mannequin on the cover was the protagonist and perhaps narrator of the entire work. I did look for a through-line in the form of a narrative, and in this pursuit I was frustrated. So I read summaries of the plays and found to my amusement that a) the album does not share their chronological arrangement and b) Lulu is not always the narrator of Lou's work.
That bothered me for a minute.
Then I moved on.
Lulu is a collection of related pieces, originally composed for light electro-acoustic accompaniment, intended to be part of Robert Wilson's theatrical work based on Wederkind's plays. Wilson has also worked with Tom Waits, notably on Alice, Blood Money and The Black Rider. Wilson's Lulu is the source material for Lou's lyric. Somewhere in the process, Lou decided that the heft of the subject matter would be best suited by a slamming rock 'n' roll band.
I have no idea how Lulu works with Wilson's production, but it seems to me that for the album these recordings have been sequenced as... an album. Art-oriented recordings often suffer, in my not-so-humble-and-often-acerbic opinion, from an unfounded allegiance to documentarianism... Like, just 'cos this all happened at these sessions, and in this order, doesn't mean that's the best way for a proposed audience to experience them. So Lou's apparent decision to sequence this album for listenability - really - makes me happy.
Track 5, "Iced Honey," is the closest thing to a rocknroll song on this record. It's in the category with "Egg Cream" from Lou's Set The Twilights Reeling or anything on New York or "Big Sky" on Ecstasy or "Shooting Star" on Street Hassle. "Iced Honey" features lyrics which, to this point, are the closest thing to "poetic" in the beautifully evocative "Pale Blue Eyes" sense of the word "poetic" that has turned up yet on this record (Lou does many things very well, but rarely does he do all of them very well at the same time).
I've heard a few live versions of "Iced Honey" and if I have a fault with the studio take it's that a) it sounds too much like Sonic Youth (a funny thing to say about Lou OR Metallica, tho for different reasons...) and b) it's too chill. Live, this song STOMPS. Hetfield's backups were especially maligned here. Live, they compete with his haircut for ridiculousness. But try this little trick if you got a few minutes (and I assume, if you're still reading this, you have some serious time on your hands). Go over here to YouTube and watch what happened when Lou guested at a Metallica show.
OK, did you hear that? Lou sang. He hasn't been doing that lately, and certainly not on Lulu. Talk-singing and atonal warbling, sure... Maybe he thought he'd better do it right this time lest someone take a shot at him. Maybe he understands how to read an audience better than we tend to give him credit for, or than he usually bothers with. But that version rocks, and next to it the studio one is a little tame and, well, "studio."
Also, "Iced Honey" is short and to the point. Which is something that Lulu is sorely in need of by track 5, twenty-five minutes in. A grounding point. Someone should cover it.
Track 6, "Cheat On Me", begins with slow, moody, stringed-out mellotronic swells. I see from the track listing that this is the first truly long song on the album, at eleven minutes and twenty-six seconds. I realize that we've had two pieces in the 7-minute range already, but when you hang out where I hang out, that's just about time to get a simple thought across. Or two, maybe.
This lyric approaches expectations based on the track's title in a way that is brilliant. There is a dialogue between the title and the content. Very smart. I like things like that. But they take time and attention to notice, and then a part of the joy and appreciation comes from taking even MORE time to dwell on it. Maybe as much time as it takes to listen to the piece. Maybe longer.
I realize that "listenability" is a strange word to apply to Lulu. What I mean is this: the album starts with acoustic guitar, slams into heavy rock, works through a few variations on heavy rock + spoken word, gets ambient, congeals into something slightly poppier for a few minutes, then gets big and spacey and epic and weird again to end "side" (well, "disc") one. That's a pretty classic dramatic album arc. Had the tunes been sequenced strictly to follow a narrative, that flow might have been lost. Again, I have no idea if this is how Wilson's piece is sequenced or if it was Lou's idea, maybe as late in the game as after all the pieces had been recorded. Since Lou has been recording thematic albums for decades, I would assume it's a well-integrated aspect of his process to give the work a reasonable flow with conflict and resolution built in to the construct in ways besides the "story" as such. Magic & Loss, for example, does not end with a death, exactly. But it does resolve meaningfully unto itself.
Disc two does not primarily continue disc one's arc (though it does that, too) as it does complement disc one's relative tautness with something far more rambling and spread out. As if side one were "rockers" and side two were "ballads." A linear flow is maintained as well, in that disc two is a long, slow climb skyward (or at least back to ground level). Disc two has all the "deep cuts," which as silly a thing as that is to say when talking about an album that is ALL "deep cuts".
And okay, I'm sorry, I've pretty well ignored Metallica so far. There are a few reasons for that. One is that, if I didn't know who they were already, I'd be thinking "Damn, Lou put together another one of his classic 2-guitars-bass-drums rocknroll bands for this one. Heavy! Wonder what else they've done?"
In some ways, Metallica is better experienced on this record as if you DON'T know who they are. Leave all that baggage with the security guy at the record store door. This is Lou's record, and all the rest is just hype meant to rile you up.
Disc two, track 1, "Frustration", begins with more squealing synth-like guitars & strings that clearly channel the titular condition. And then, once again, SLAM!! The riff comes down like a heavy shoe.
Someone once called Metallica the last of the great '70's metal bands, which is interesting partly because they are more often thought of as a harbinger of modern metal, a breakaway from the extant sound, something new & different for their time, and partly, more literally, because they formed in 1981. That '70's pedigree is very possibly more apparent on Lulu than anything else they've done, maybe because they no longer have to prove their independence from their antecedents. Maybe because as a backup band, they can find their pocket and serve the muse without a world-beating agenda. Maybe because the more forward-thinking aspects of the compositions, the ambient stuff, the experisquonk noise jams, the drones and the freejazzy bits, are more effective in contrast to these chugging, swinging, headbanging grooves. Maybe because in the near-total absence of anything resembling conventional songform, the swaggering riff is what remains.
"Frustration" teeters from swaggering riff to squealing atonal floating din, adrift on a sea of carnivorous worms, back and forth, back and forth. Think of Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath with Damo Suzuki sitting in for Ozzy.
More hightlights from the Lulu listening party
If breaking away from the status quo was part of Metallica's original agenda, and if they got lost somewhere along the way, swamped in the sea of "we're famous, now what?", then Lulu could be seen as a return to form. They do things here that they have not done elsewhere, that arguably no one has. A prevailing opinion seems to have been that this is because they are bad ideas (give this much press to a record by Sunn 0))) or Master Musicians Of Bukkake and see how people deal with it!)
But that is not up to anyone to judge, and anyway, in art (as opposed to "popular music"), progress is often more important than product. The opening of doors so that others may come in and explore. It's the same function we observed earlier in Metal Machine Music, or even in Lulu itself: the germination of new modes of thought or even entire genres from seeds of ideas only partially sprouted.
Lulu actually began to inspire new sprouts in other people's gardens before it was even out. Beyond my interest in Lou and in this unexpected collaboration for its own sake, that is one of the things about Lulu that first caught my attention: the phenomenon of "pre-covers." There were actually several volumes "released" of "covers" of the songs that would eventually appear on Lulu, before Lulu was even out.
Basically, a bunch of folks saw the song titles and started thinking, what would these sound like? What do we want them to sound like? What should or could they be? And a surprising number of people took the time and made the effort to turn those ideas into reality. Or meta-reality. A contribution to the Lulu universe, a kind of fan fiction. And as with much fan fiction (the awesome piece "Killing Elvis", for example, which takes place in the universe described in the Alien movie franchise and which may be read here) some of this work is brilliant, some is stupid, and some of it gets the kind of adulation, on a smaller scale, that is usually reserved for the "real" art.
Disc two of Lulu is just four long songs. The second one, "Little Dog," is mainly a slowly pounding metronomic beat with acoustic guitar strumbling, some feedback and obscene muttering. It sets a mood. It is eight minutes long. The dramatically different alternate version on "Pre-Covers Volume Two" is worth some attention if only because it is fun to talk about it later: http://soundcloud.com/ilxprecoversluluii/sets/ilx-pre-covers-lulu-ii
This is the late-middle of a large work. It is the time when you are remaining in your seat because you bought your ticket and if the director is having his way with you a bit, well, alright. That's part of the ride. We are deep in the pit and, with any luck, we are now gradually working our way up and out. Track 3, disc two, "Dragon," begins with more feedback and aggravated shouting of clever phrases (I have seen videos of live versions of this one, also, that SMOKE... amazing tone). AHHHH three minutes in we locate another riff, one with a sense of lift, maybe we ARE on our way out. You can see light from here.
The pre-covers, the seeming teeming infinitude of negative reviews, the quotes from Lou calling this his and indeed anyone's greatest work, ever; the live videos; the graduated release plan (a website, the album art, a tracklisting, a snippet, a preview track or two, the entire album streamable for free, then the multiple physical packages including vinyl, posters, etc); it all adds up to a meta-work of sorts, wherein the criticism and the experience of reading some of that criticism, discussing it, bitching about it, trying to crack the code, is part of the art. Did the artists intend or account for that? Does it matter?
We've seen something like this also in the recent movie Prometheus, wherein the director's pedigree among other factors led to unreasonable audience and fan expectations which were then met with a deliberately inscrutable movie, something of which little to no sense could be made by even the most determined observer. If you watch it though, just as a movie, light and sound, things to look at and think about and feel, then it works. It's entertaining. It doesn't solve any problems or teach you anything (or maybe it does, but not about the things you think you're thinking about). Later and elsewhere, there's miles and miles of fan-decanted rant and theory to parse through while you try and fail to sort it out for yourself, so you can sleep.
Prometheus entertains you. Partly by mystifying you. Partly by creating the opportunity for you to share in that mystification with your cultural neighbors. Partly by planting the seeds for future evolution, future growth, like the grain of sand that irritates the oyster into vomiting a pearl.
Lulu is the same kind of animal. Something very weird that is difficult if not impossible to understand, something that exists mainly to pass the time, something that exists to tickle your brain or maybe stick toothpicks in it, something the fact of whose mere existence at all can inspire emotions ranging from delight to horror, before a note has even been heard.
A few people said to me, and I believe I have seen it written as well, that the mere fact of Lou and Metallica's collaboration was an abomination to be feared and despised, a violation of much that is holy. I am not sure why this would be the case. I was stoked from the minute the news hit my limbic system. Besides, we are all free humans and we can do what we like and Lou and the boys are no exception. We can't get away from hearing about it, if we are the kinds of people who are interested in certain things (I have many friends who have no idea that this album exists and probably don't care and that's fine, too), but we can choose not to buy it, not to listen, not to discuss it or think about it, as if it were The Kardashians or Justin Bieber.
If you've read all this, then you have evidently chosen not to turn off the Lulu channel.
Track 4, disc 2, the last song on the album, is called "Junior Dad". It has been written that two members of Metallica burst into tears listening to Lou record his vocal. It has been observed that there's a beautiful song in this 20-minute track, somewhere, if a little more care had been taken on the part of the artists to actually locate that song and perform it.
I don't hear it. I don't hear the beautiful song. I don't hear anything that moves me especially more or less than all that has come before.
I hear a sunset. I hear a lyrical resolution, themes that tie directly in to the very first lines of the first song on the first disc as well as to lines from "Harry's Circumcision" on Magic & Loss. Lou is still exorcising those demons, too. They may even be the same ones, the ones that shriek "I will transcend my genetic makeup, my environment and my upbringing!" If there is a key to what this album is "about," then I tend to think a part of that key may be found in these opening/closing statements, in the movie imagery and the horror-movie imagery, in the always ultimately deadly battle between a person and his/her self. I hear an extended elegiac underture outro, fulfilling the sonic arc in glorious synchronized tandem with the literary arc.
This is a well-planned, well-executed album. It is consistent unto itself, internally, subjectively, in any way that matters. If you don't like it, that's completely fine. Don't listen to it. But please do respect the work and the vision that went into making it.
More hightlights from the Lulu listening party
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