METALLICA's collaborative album with Lou Reed, titled "Lulu", sold 13,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 36 on The Billboard 200 chart. By contrast, METALLICA's last studio effort, 2008's "Death Magnetic", sold 490,000 copies in just a three-day sales window after it came out on a Friday, with sales tracked through the following Sunday.
Even METALLICA's controversial 2003 set, "St. Anger", moved 418,000 copies in its initial week of release, which was also shortened to four days.
METALLICA's "Re-Load" album sold 435,000 units during its first week in 1997, while 1996's "Load" opened at 680,000. 1991's self-titled "black album" debuted with 598,000 and has since gone on to sell more than 15.7 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"Lulu" first-week chart positions:
Already polarizing fans around the world and earning some of the most scathing reviews of their career, "Lulu" features the former THE VELVET UNDERGROUND frontman's spoken-word poetry and lyrics combined with METALLICA's musical assault for a jarring experience that doesn't sound like anything METALLICA has ever attempted before. A concept album based on two early 20th century plays by German author Frank Wedekind, the CD was co-produced by Reed, METALLICA, Hal Willner who has produced albums for Reed, Marianne Faithfull, and Laurie Anderson, among others and Greg Fidelman. Fidelman also mixed the record.
The collaboration between METALLICA and Reed was sparked by their performance together of Reed's "Sweet Jane" and "White Light/White Heat" at the 25th anniversary of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame at Madison Square Garden in October of 2009.
The songs were all written by Reed with extensive arrangement contributions by METALLICA.
Only two songs on the album are under five minutes in length, while two are more than 11 minutes long and the closing cut, "Junior Dad", clocks in at 19 minutes.
Both METALLICA and Reed have downplayed the scathing reviews that the album has gotten, with Reed saying that METALLICA fans are "threatening to shoot me." METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich defended the project, saying, "It's not for everyone, but I think it's a fantastic record."