*** + 1/2 (3.5 stars)
first off: bonus to reggie (cough cough james dewees of the get up kids) for the gimmicks. the reggie storyline (he was famous in the eighties and his first album was a greatest hits collection, then tapes mysteriously showed up at vagrant for the second album, and now he's out of jail and performing again), the amusing song titles ("apocolypse WOW!" is my favorite title on this one), the guest appearances from common denominator (the best finnish death-metal band you've ever heard), the costumes, the let's-fool-the-customer-by-hiding-the-cd trick (the record is called "inside the dust sleeve"), i could go on.
now, minus points to señor dewees for the gimmicks. he's got some damn good songs, and he often lets the gimmicks get in the way. two of the best songs, the opening "your bleedin' heart" and "congratulations smack + katy", are seperated by a recording of a "drunk girl at the get up kids show". the biggest problem with reggie albums is that their momentum is interrupted often by skits that are amusing the first time and then just distract from the music. however, those two songs are so amazing that it's worth it. "your bleedin' heart" rocks while mocking the bands that try really hard to look like they're moping, and the result is wonderful, and "congratulations smack + katy" has such great hooks that it's no surprise it was the first single.
some of this album's songs sound dangerously close to being rehashes of older reggie songs, but thankfully they often turn out to be more like improved sequels. "mood 4 luv" borrows its mood from "gloves" from promotional copy, albeit with much funnier lyrics (sample: "when i smelled your perfume, it spelled out d-o-o in doom, and doom backwards is mood, and i'm in the mood 4 U girl"); meanwhile "f.o.o.d. aka aren't you hungary" steals both the mood and the "l-o-v-e love, g-l-o-v-e glove" trick (here it's "f-o-o-d food food, g-o-o-d good good"), although it has a nice metal break in the middle.
"what won't kill you eats gas" is creepy and atmospheric, and after another drunk girl skit, one of the absolute best reggie songs kicks in: "gettin by with it's". it's classic finger-snapping good, reggie-style pop, complete with cute backing vocals. unfortunately, it's followed by the greatly titled but sort of lagging "image is nothing, lobsters are everything", which actually has some nice piano touches but ultimately feels like it was written while reggie was taking valium. if you drift off during that song, then the aforementioned "apocolypse WOW!" hits you like a brick with hungary bear screaming "let's get it on!!!" but the rest of the song, while severely rocking, doesn't really grab me. "f.o.o.d." is a nice little ditty, and then "happy v-day" isn't exciting but not necessarily bland. after a dig at avril (easy target), there is "linkin verbz", common denominator's second song on a reggie album. the masterpiece that is "dwarf invasion" just simply cannot be topped. sorry, guys. the concept of writing a song about the linking verbs appeals to me but the execution could've been much better.
finally, we come to "megan 2k2 (even though it's 2k3 now)". it's pretty sweet, and very nice. a piano ballad on par with "congratulations matt + christine" from the last album, and a very nice note to end the album on.
overall, it's a good album, but there's a too much filler on it. the skits are amusing but when it comes down to the songs, reggie shouldn't have to hide behind them. speaking of which, if you get a chance to see reggie when he tours (supposedly after the new get up kids album is finished) i highly recommend it. it's worth it for the keytar alone.