A polished, melodic album released at the height of the grunge phenomenon, Lulu was met with critical and popular indifference. Describing it as a "melodically complex and romantic pop masterpiece", Allmusic declares:
It is a rare instance in the music industry, major label or otherwise, to hear an album created by a group so obviously enchanted and inspired by each other, an album so loved and so toiled over that its contents continue to give indefinitely, an album so steeped in worshiping beauty that no amount of criticism — positive or negative — can mangle or tarnish its crystalline brilliance.
The album's title track, about an old crush with whom the singer used to see a band, has the refrain, "Do you remember? Do you recall?" Those words are printed in large type on the album's liner notes, with the last phrase altered to "dü you recall"--an allusion to another Minneapolis-based band, Hüsker Dü, whose name is Danish for "do you remember".