Feel like watching a bunch of awesome dudes pat themselves on the back for making something largely mediocre? Welcome to “The View.”
Director Darren Aronofsky is known for his blunt, dark and uncompromising films like “The Wrestler,” “Requiem For a Dream” and, most recently, “Black Swan.” It figures that Bay Area metal gods Metallica and eternally cool New York music icon Lou Reed would ask him to direct the first video from their collaborative LP “Lulu.” And, will you look at that, they came up with, in the words of Reed himself, “possibly the best video ever made”
The supergroup plays the song “The View” in a rehearsal space captured in grainy b&w footage, with an added camera effect that creates haunting “ghost” images of the player’s faces. Hetfield makes angry faces. Reed makes tired faces. Stay through the end to hear Reed’s unbiased opinion of the performance (hint: it rhymes with “Schmrilliant”). The video premiered earlier today on IFC.com.
The song itself is emblematic of the tunes found on the album: Metallica churns out some slow, sludgy, super-repetitive riffs while Reed aimlessly rambles on about magic and loss and what-not. When James Hetfield starts singing the chorus, it just sounds like a Metallica outtake.
“The first time I heard ‘The View’ I was stunned,” said Aronofsky in a release. “I had never heard anything like it. Half was all Lou. The other half all Metallica. It was a marriage that on the surface made no sense, but the fusion changed the way I thought about both artists and morphed into something completely fresh and new. I couldn’t stop listening to it. Lou’s crushing lyrics, and the band’s incredible licks. It’s so original and that’s why I wanted to work on it.”
For those expecting the hyper-kinetic stylization found in most of Aronofsky’s big screen work, you should maybe just watch “Pi” again (it’s even in black and white).
Reed, who got his start with the convention-breaking Velvet Underground before launching a solo career that has swung between timeless pop-inflected rock like “Transformer” and difficult, confrontational work as “Metal Machine Music,” has never been one to mince his words.
“I am very excited about working with Darren Aronofsky on our powerful video ‘The View’,” said Reed. “I feel Darren understood the power and range of the emotions fueled by the fire of Metallica. His strength and spirit are on display in every frame and I think he has caught the anger, rage and anguish at the bottom of the soul of real rock. A literate man for a literate song. As exciting as the music and that’s a big compliment. Possibly the best video ever made. Black and white filmic noir”.
“To have a song like ‘The View’ visualized through the eyes and magic touch of Darren Aronofsky is beyond my wildest dream,” added Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. “The marriage between images, music, and words in this video is indescribably thrilling and I am so next level psyched to be involved in a project that brings together the creative minds of Darren Aronofsky, Lou Reed . . . and The ‘Tallica”
What do you think of the video? Grade it at the top of the article.