Quick spins: Lou Reed and Metallica, Florence and the Machine, Tyrese


“Lulu”

It’s already been called the worst album of all time, this unholy union of Lou Reed and Metallica, the multi-headed hydra of unpleasantness known colloquially, though not fondly, as Loutallica.

They’ve united to present an 85-minute misery delivery system called “Lulu,” loosely based on a series of German expressionist plays that chronicled the adventures of a prostitute-turned-slave murdered by Jack the Ripper.

It may not be rock history’s worst album, but it’s almost certainly the most ridiculous; a somber, self-satisfied, misogynistic mess that is the aural equivalent of having a rock dropped on your head, an experience that might actually be preferable.

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“Ceremonials”

“Ceremonials,” the much-anticipated follow-up to Florence and the Machine’s critically acclaimed debut “Lungs,” is an unabashedly big record — big beats, big themes, big choruses and effects. It’s also a lot to process, especially with nine of its dozen outsize tracks pushing or exceeding the five-minute mark. But let the majesty and bombast wash over you and not only do these performances redeem their rococo excesses, they deliver their share of catharsis as well.

Even bigger than the music, though, is the neo-operatic warble of frontwoman Florence Welch, a singer whose emotionally wrought approach is at times reminiscent of singers such as Sinead O’Connor, Polly Jean Harvey and Kate Bush. In “Lover to Lover,” riding piano, handclaps and a gospel-soul groove, Welch’s full-throated vocals recall Annie Lennox teaming up, in womanly solidarity, with Aretha Franklin in “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves.”

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“Open Invitation”

In between appearing in big-budget action films (most recently “Fast Five,” and  “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,”) and writing a successful self-help book, singer Tyrese Gibson found the time to cut a new album, “Open Invitation.” One might think that Tyrese’s thespian and literary pursuits would take away from his music, but the opposite is true. Now that the singer’s habit of trying on different personalities — his last album, 2006’s double-disc “Alter Ego,”  features Tyrese rapping under the alias “Black Ty” — is fully channeled elsewhere, he is again making great, straightforward R&B.

Tyrese has taken a page out of the Ice Cube handbook: While Cube occasionally takes a break from making family movies to make an R-rated recording, Gibson breaks up the monotony of cinematic robot wars with a sweet album of love songs. Well, with a couple of exceptions: “Too Easy,” featuring Ludacris, is just Gibson talking about how rich and handsome he is, and on “I Gotta Chick,” Tyrese talks about a lady who is a “sex soldier” — but considering the track features Rick Ross and R. Kelly, it’s more subdued than it could’ve been.  

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