In honor of Greg Gillis’ mix-and-match skills, we had three interns review the new Girl Talk album. The reviews are mashed up below:
The beauty of Girl Talk’s All Day is its perfect blend of post-modern absurdity and pure entertainment. Mixing and morphing among a deep vein of ‘80s pop classics, ‘90s alternative, and ‘00s hip-hop tracks, Gregg Gillis immediately makes me nostalgic for my junior prom, the time outs at high school basketball games and 2008 when Feed the Animals dropped. My friends and I huddled around a laptop, downloaded the sucker, dimmed the lights and had an impromptu dance party. It stayed in heavy rotation after that—I’m pretty sure I brushed my teeth to it for at least a week—and now I’ve got a case of déjà vu.
Gillis’ musical Frankenstein project recycles many of the hooks and samples he used on his first LP—Jackson 5, Bananarama, Ludacris and the Beastie Boys (or at least the Pringles commercial-perverted version of the Beastie Boys)—and his formula of mixing current hip-hop with ‘80s and ‘90s nostalgia trips hasn’t changed in the least. But neither has his ability to churn out infectious mash-ups capable of turning even the stiffest blokes into dancing machines. At his best, Gillis’ combinations are better than even the sum of their classic parts. Even the strictest punk-rock purists have to smile hearing the Ramones up against Missy Elliott or Iggy Pop duking it out with The Beastie Boys.
For the most part, the record plays free-flow style, appropriately accommodating a riotous cha-cha fiesta. Though monotonous on occasion—we probably could have done without all the GaGa-gushing—his dance-ready mash-ups are best when the contrasts are high. Foxy Brown’s “Hot Spot” becomes softer and more accessible when paired with the soothing croons of Peter Gabriel. The chords of “Blitzkrieg Bop” seem to be shifted into a minor key juxtaposed with “Get Ur Freak On,” as if Gillis makes some secret connection between disparate acts. These genre remixes affirm our instant-recognition capabilities, hearing only a 15-second snippet of something familiar.
So what does this mean? Is the essence of a song really just something that can be pared down, all the fat trimmed off? Gillis’s use of bite-sized samples—squeezing as much pop culture as possible into the shortest amount of time—makes him an apt hero for the iPod Shuffle Generation. Still, All Day provides the soundtrack to the ultimate dance party, urging us to scream out the songs we know and to just have fun. It’s nothing new for Girl Talk, really, but then again, what is?