Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review: All Day by Girl Talk

Girl Talk
All Day
Illegal Art
Release Date: November 15, 2010

Anyone unfamiliar with Gregg Gillis and his musical mash-up mastery under his Girl Talk pseudonym is clearly depriving him or herself from a truly entertaining and exciting experience. Girl Talk makes the art of the mash-up look effortless and the results have always been highly infectious and replayable. The surprise release of his fifth LP, All Day, follows in the same vein as his past work, fine tuning his craft to perhaps make it his strongest album to date. Here are five reasons why this needs to be in your iTunes library now:

1. 1. It has something for everybody. Greg Gillis does not discriminate. All Day samples over 370 different songs and interweaves them beautifully to create the hour-plus long album. Those hundred of songs run the gamut of the musical spectrum, from classic rock to today’s hip-hop and rap to ‘90s alternative to ‘80s classics. Gillis’s source material is nearly bottomless, which allows him to make some inventive combinations and contrasts. The bottom line: Unless you are musically challenged, it is near-impossible to not recognize some of the samples.

2. 2. It is constantly changing. Let’s face it: Sometimes listening to an entire album is simply a daunting task. One would prefer to just skim through to the best parts of songs at will. Those of us with that inherent attention deficiency have found their musical mecca. Unlike other mash-up artists, where a full song juxtaposes the beat of one song to the vocals of another, Girl Talk never sticks with the same sample for more than a minute or so. He is far too spastic (as evidenced by his amazing rave of a live show…take note, Sienafest…) for his own good, which ends up being for the listener’s good, as well. This consistently keeps things fresh, allows a particularly underwhelming mash-up to dissipate rather quickly, and puts the listener perpetually on guard.

3. 3. It allows for novel combinations. One of the entertaining elements of mash-ups is the inherent contrasts of the source material, and Gillis does a good job making the quirkiest, funniest and interesting combinations while still maintaining a non-stop party. It takes a surprising amount of appreciation and knowledge of music to even be able to make some of these connections. Some of the standouts include Soulja Boy’s “Pretty Boy Swag” with Aphex Twin’s “Windowlicker” (hysterical), “Pop Champagne” and “Drop It Like It’s Hot” (no-brainer) and Radiohead’s “Creep” with Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” (bizarre but awesome). Usually, the combination involves rapping done over an unorthodox beat, but again, Gillis always keeps his listeners on their collective toes. In the first few minutes alone, he mixes in Black Sabbath, Ludacris, Jay-Z, Jane’s Addiction, M.I.A., The Ramones and plenty of others, simply elucidating his effectively prolific nature.

4. 4. It is a musical scavenger hunt. It is simple math: 370-plus samples in 71 minutes means an average of about five different songs a minute. Good luck trying to determine them all. Okay, they are all (mostly) mapped out on Wikipedia to the second, but consider it musical discovery at hyperspeed. In the span of a minute, you might be singing along to a beloved jam, re-discovering an old favorite and hearing something completely new. Music aficionado or not, the sheer breadth of music at play here is something at which to marvel.

5. 5. It is a self-contained party. If nothing else, All Day is the perfect party album. Just put it on and you have over an hour of highly danceable, highly entertaining tunes. Cover all of the bases without the effort of DJing. No other single album has such an applicable aesthetic.

Oh, and one more thing: The whole thing is available to download for free…legally. Head over to illegal-art.net/allday, do yourself a big-time favor and add this one to your iPod right now. You will not be disappointed.

Rating: 4/5