3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ambient for Rock Fans
You'll read many reviews here dismissing MMM as an elaborate joke Lou pulled on pretentious posers salivating over the implicate 'art' value of the atonal noise that encompasses the recording's 60+ minutes. Hell, if it's 'difficult', it's gotta be 'art', right? Haw haw haw... what a character, that Lou. Kudos for ripping off a bunch of morons by releasing the first coffee...
Published on Sep 9 2003 by owlberg
3.0 out of 5 stars Everybody who has had their say here is right well sorta
This album is going to attract many people as it will repel. You're not going to find anything that will have people praising highly or those spitting venomous bile.
Whether or not you can call this art, I don't know but at least and those who call it a joke are not too far off the mark. It's Lou Reed's idea of fun. And fun it may be for him but it takes a masochist to...
Published on May 15 2004 by filterite
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ambient for Rock Fans,
This review is from: Metal Machine Music (Audio CD)You'll read many reviews here dismissing MMM as an elaborate joke Lou pulled on pretentious posers salivating over the implicate 'art' value of the atonal noise that encompasses the recording's 60+ minutes. Hell, if it's 'difficult', it's gotta be 'art', right? Haw haw haw... what a character, that Lou. Kudos for ripping off a bunch of morons by releasing the first coffee table record: an unlistenable conversation piece for decadent trendies. Right? RIGHT?
If it were only that simple, to live in such a simpleton world. But anyone with a clue can easily figure out why MMM matters. If your aesthetic already included things such as Hendrix, the Velvet Underground, The Stooges, Black Sabbath, King Crimson, and so on, this made perfect sense in context, as ambient music for people with noise-attuned ears (much like Eno's ambient does the same for those with pop-attuned ears). Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't. Sometimes you want to hear something inspired by a malfunctioning record player set at a near-inaudible level in a hospital room (Eno) and sometimes you need a sound inspired by something a bit more substantial (Reed).
Of course, to those who don't share the above aesthetic, MMM simply means that you paid X amount of dollars to own and listen to what sounds like a bunch of guitars and amps being thrown down a very long flight of stairs, or (as someone said back when this was first issued), 'the soundtrack of someone being administered electro-shock therapy for an hour'. Perhaps... but those reviewers mincing and squealing about how this is such a 'rip-off' probably don't see much in Pollock but a bunch of splattered paint, or get a headache from trying to read "Finnegan's Wake". Try to be charitable to them, even if they ARE clue-impaired to the point that they are obviously resentful of what they just can't understand.
Truth is, we still ended up with Throbbing Gristle (who toned down the foreground treble and added somewhat of a beat and 'lyrical content' to the concept), Einsturzende Neubauten and Test Department (who added everyday appliances to the mix, amped up the rhythmic aspects considerably, and re-incorporated a semblance of song structure) and Boyd Rice/Frank Tovey's EASY LISTENING FOR THE HARD OF HEARING (which dispenses with anything involving traditional instruments, and employs record player cartridges, tape snippets, and found sounds to create what are truly metal machine instrumental pop songs), just to name a few that emerged thereafter MMM hit the fans.
Would these things have happened without MMM being released? Is MMM truly valid as a retail item from an established singer/songwriter recording for the fine RCA label, or could any speed freak with enough time and equipment put this together? Does the fact that Lou already did it make that last point somewhat irrelevant? Is MMM the 'root' of 'industrial' music? Does Lou owe props to Ussachevsky and Luening, who were making similar noises in the early 50's? If so, is MMM Lou's 'musique concrete' album?
Whatever. Opinions are like the nether aperture: everyone's got one, and they all stink if you get right down to it. So I'll take MMM as Lou's attempt at noise-friendly ambient music, ideal shifting audio wallpaper that hangs around while I do everyday chores around the house. It's useful, it's utilitarian. It serves a purpose. And I, for one, am glad that it happened.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album! ... not for everyone,
This review is from: Metal Machine Music (Audio CD)Let me just say that I love this album. One of my favorites. It takes music, not just rock'n'roll, to a noisy limit. If you like experimentation and loud music, you got to have this one. But let me just say, it's not for everyone. You must be ready for something weird. I think the people that know hard techno or contemporary classical are going to understand that album. For those who liked "Transformer" and want another Lou Reed album, this might not be the one.
3.0 out of 5 stars Everybody who has had their say here is right well sorta,
This review is from: Metal Machine Music (Audio CD)This album is going to attract many people as it will repel. You're not going to find anything that will have people praising highly or those spitting venomous bile.
Whether or not you can call this art, I don't know but at least and those who call it a joke are not too far off the mark. It's Lou Reed's idea of fun. And fun it may be for him but it takes a masochist to enjoy this. Listen to whatever side you want or even the full album if needs must.
But surprisingly this album actually has proved an inspiration for a generation of artists. You listen to Throbbing Gristle, SPK, Einsturzende Neubauten in their early years and you'll find pieces of MMM in their music ( or noise if you prefer to call it that way ). If you listen to Sonic Youth's Bad Moon Rising there's a part in the album where they play a 5 second snippet forwards and backwards. And of course there is the prima Japanese artists such as Merzbow who is much more harsher than this. If you Metal Machine Music is noise, just listen to Merzbow - THAT'S NOISE. I can only stomach one CD of Merzbow and that's similar in style to this one
Oh and by the way - if you've listened to the samples on Amazon it's pretty much like that all the way. Like it and want the album? Go ahead and buy it if you want. Feel the urge to kill Lou after hearing those samples? Try Coney Island Girl, that'll be more normal I reckon
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Record Of All Time!,
This review is from: Metal Machine Music (Audio CD)I don't know if the entire music-listening world is completely uneducated, utterly oblivious, or simply that much dumber than me, but how can anyone give this record less than a perfect score? For those fans of Brian Wilson and the lost (and now found) Beach Boys' masterpiece "SMiLE," you should be salivating over "MMM Part 2," which has harmonies obviously rivaling the Brian/Carl ones, as well as a bass line that could kick Mike Love's behind any day.
For fans of jam-based rock outfits like the Grateful Dead, Phish, or the String Cheese Incident, check out "MMM Part 4." For all the noodling Trey Anastasio does, he never quite gets to the point like Uncle Lou does, and the crescendo is phenomenal. Besides that, "MMMP4" makes Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber from the Dave Matthews Band sound like a Barbara Streisand/Kathy Lee Gifford duet.
Anyone who digs punk rock a la the Ramones or the Sex Pistols (or possibly even the Damned) should check out "MMM Part 3." It's got that catchy riff, one that Iggy Pop would've died for back in the early '70s, and even throws a bit of Bowie-esque glam in for good measure.
Finally, "MMM Part 1," perhaps the most ambitious piece on the whole record, is also quite easily the best. Uncle Lou draws on some of the great soul singers of the '60s and '70s--Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin--but creates a sound all his own. Pete Townshend would've given his little whirlybird thing that he does up just to be able to put this much soul into ANY of his songs (remember, Pete's the one who coined the phrase "Maximum R&B."
What's the matter? Can't hear the stuff I'm talking about? Oh, I understand. See, you need to turn the volume up. Louder. Louder! Now sit back and enjoy.
5.0 out of 5 stars sssssssssssscccccccccccrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeaaaach,
This review is from: Metal Machine Music (Audio CD)I love part 1 and 3. Part 2 seems a little formulated and part 4 is so sappy that I feel like I am listening to the Carpenters. I guess if you like that stuff you will probably really dig that section. So for me it is well worth the price for 1 & 3. Much better than the new B. Spears release :)))
4.0 out of 5 stars Get a clue, people,
This review is from: Metal Machine Music (Audio CD)I find it incredible that, in the year 2003, people still don't understand that some art cannot be appreciated passively. If there is one overarching trend in the history of 20th century art, it is a movement from an art of passive, one-way communication, toward an art that requires the audience to take part in the synthesis of meaning, and asks us to learn about ourselves.
Some art hands its meaning to you on a silver platter, predigested. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; I've got books and CDs full of this kind of art.
But there are certain artworks which will give you nothing if you don't actively engage them. These artworks throw the question of meaning back into the audience's lap. If you find no meaning in them, it doesn't necessarily reflect poorly on the artwork - it might reflect poorly on your own lack of imagination and intellect. Or maybe you're just not trying.
Sorry to sound like a snob here, but come on, people. This album's detractors admit that they don't understand what it's all about; why, then, do they feel qualified to pass judgement on it? Do they also feel qualified to be wine critics and financial advisors?
Believe it or not, just because you don't understand or appreciate something, doesn't mean that people who *do* are being pretentious. In fact, slinging around accusations like that just makes you sound like the sort of redneck who thinks it's "fancified" to drink imported beer instead of Coors Light. If you don't get it, fine, but don't be a jerk about it.
Better yet, find a good history of modern art. Study it well. Understand that art since 1900 has evolved myriad new modes of creation, perception, and cognition, and that you may not have learned about all of these through pop culture. If you still don't like it, more power to you, but at least then you'll know what you're talking about.
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the album that got me through college,
By A Customer
This review is from: Metal Machine Music (Audio CD)This music is inspirational. I would play it at parties to set the tone. Listen to it and you'll find zen inner peace.
5.0 out of 5 stars noise noise NOISE,
This review is from: Metal Machine Music (Audio CD)It's not noisey music, it's noise. maybe even ambient in the John Cage sense. It's feedback run through amps and speakers (I think), and repetitive of course, but you actually hear it make it's own impossibly fast beat after a while-maybe it's not really ambient after all, since it is actually difficult to ignore. No voice, no melody, no beat (in any obviously accessible way), just a lot of screech!!!!!!...maybe it should be considered a sound effects album, even! This is really stimulating, and one of the more annoying things ever recorded.
3.0 out of 5 stars Clearing the air,
By A Customer
This review is from: Metal Machine Music (Audio CD)I've listened to parts of this record a number of times and have always felt something different each time. However I believe like most "art", it was meant to affect different people in different ways. And it might never affect you the same way twice. Think Nine Inch Nails meets John Cage meets MC5 meets LaMont Young. And I don't mean just bits of those artists separately and the influences thereof, but rather all of them playing simultaneously at extreme ear shattering volume. The affect of listening to this on headphones is enough to inflict psychotic reaction. It is NOT music to do housework to. Unless that housework involves demolition.
Having said that, I also believe that MMM was recorded for 1 specific reason. Lou was trying to "clear the air" of all the quote, unquote "sally can't dance, your rock 'n'roll animal". Which I think means all the fans of those records and others like them. He was casting those fans aside much the same way that Little Richard threw his jewels in the river or Brian Wilson stopped recording and writing music at the height of his popularity. All probably felt a certain amount of pressure, both from record companies as well as the fans to keep churning out the same product over and over with new and different wrapping.
Most groups or even solo artists don't make it past 2 or 3 records because the fanbase moves on to newer, shinier versions. So what Lou did was to circumvent the eventual fanbase collapse and took an axe to his own career by releasing quite possibly the most unlistenable record ever produced. And just to make sure the destruction was complete he recorded 4 sides of it and put a cover on that made it seem like this might be a live recording to entice those leftover Rock'n'roll Animal fans. Lou knew that the shine on his star was quickly becoming faded and felt he still had much more creativity to sell, so he destroyed himself publicly, and then quickly re-invented himself with a new record label and new, self-controlled image. At the same time he was recording and releasing MMM he was planning a major career move to take control of the production and release of his music, instead of leaving it to the whims of the record company and the producers that were assigned to him, as happened early in his career.
Be that as it may, I would recommend this record only to those brave souls who enjoy the sound of the death and subsequent re-birth of a rock star. It is most assuredly not a pretty sound, and more than likely harkens to Lou Reed's personal recollections of horrors of eletro-shock thereapy which he, himself endured as a young man at the insistence of his parents, mixed in with drug abuse, alcoholism and all the "friends" and nightmares he formed throughout his life at that time.
Clearing the air sometimes requires total annihilation and Lou Reed certainly achieved that with this record. You have now been forewarned. Proceed at your own risk, because there's a wasteland here with no happy ending.
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful chaos,
This review is from: Metal Machine Music (Audio CD)i found this album in a used bin at some weird record store. after reading the description on the back of the cd, i had to hear it. of course, the cashier warned me "you knwo this isnt music right?" i replied yeah. i have since listened to it once through, and am in the process of doing so again. this is an album to take your mind of things. just try to listen to each individual "instrument" (read: sound reed gets from guitar feedback) being a noise enthusiuest, this is now my bible of weirdness. the way i described it to a friend is "if you wanted a soundtrack for a journey through a lunatic's mind, this is it." just sit back and listen, and let the harmonic hallucinations take you over. this is THE SOUND of chaos. and chaos is beauty.
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Metal Machine Music by Lou Reed (Audio CD - 2000)