Get Up Kids keyboardist James DeWees' kooky pop project Reggie and the Full Effect has flirted with metal before, turning in a giddy cover of Slayer's "Raining Blood" and introducing characters such as the Finnish mosh warlords Common Denominator and Hungary Bear. But he's never concocted late-era Metallica riffs like the one that fuels "The Fuck Stops Here" -- it's a surprise when James Hetfield's trademark gut-punched ugh!
doesn't follow that song's opening salvo. And he's never crafted stuttered-blast breakdowns for kung-fu choreographers until "The Trooth" and "What the Hell Is a Stipulation." In true Reggie fashion, though, both songs contain cutely crooned choruses, and both are next-track neighbors to piano-peppered prom ballads that recall Madonna at her most maudlin. "Love Reality," with its ostentatiously synthesized beat and sternly intoned vocals, echoes Euro-trash disco, and "Deathnotronic" resurrects Rob Zombie's death-dance-hybrid sound. Despite the gimmicks, Songs Not to Get Married To
plays like Reggie's first adult album, lyrically as well as sonically. Lines such as I want to get inside you and die
and I guess I'm horrible for you
, among many others, deal directly with DeWees' recent divorce, which, depending on the listener's tolerance for uncomfortable intimacy, either gives them unprecedented emotional gravity or makes them kinda creepy.