Chilly Gonzales III "Presidential Suite"

Canadian-via-Berlin prankster Chilly Gonzales returns with his third full-length, and while it lacks the pop cheese brilliance of his Uber Alles debut, it's substantially better than the bitter slap of his rap-as-revenge follow-up The Entertainist. The cartoonish self-aggrandized myth-making is still in full force, as he preaches his platform and boosts his ego throughout Presidential Suite – last year, one Gonzales publicity stunt involved running for "president of the Berlin underground." But what also remains, if not in abundance at least in ample portions, is his creative songwriting, his knack for a witty turn of phrase, and his over-the-top presentation that in fits and starts makes you love him as much as he wants you to. It's apropos that on one of the album's best tracks, "Take Me to Broadway," Chilly announces "I wanna be loved and hated in equal amounts." He wants to be the most popular cat in the room, but just can't bother to get off the pillowy pile of cool his posse (which includes Feist, crooner Louie Austen and fellow Berliner Peaches) has built in the corner. But too often this isn't a welcoming record; it feels like we're not being let in on the joke, but rather are its butt. (Kitty Yo)