Girl Talk, All Day

Published on January 30th, 2011 in: All You Need Is Now, Culture Shock, Current Faves, Issues, Media, MP3s, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews, The Internets |

By Janet Brusselbach

It feels really good to be listening to free music that’s not only intended to be free, but that’s also really good.

all day frontcover

I’ll admit, I’m probably never going to pay Girl Talk’s Greg Gillis: I saw him doing his thing at a festival a few years back, and he got the irreverent hedonism across well enough. I never could listen to the previous releases all the way through, but something about the collision of great expectations and consistent fun that is All Day‘s Brain Party has earwormed its entirety into me. It’s a party in your head, everywhere, without the exhaustion, expense, and extroversion of actual partying.

I will get the caveats out of the way: yes, since it’s entirely samples, it’s just a kind of shtick, like all other mashup artists. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible to have a much more inventive mashup with identifiable style, and for that quality to come through even when you’re unfamiliar with most other mashup pop out there. There are some tricky aesthetic arguments I’m just going to handwave away (or maybe dougie away) now, and blame the major keys.

Because I have listened to All Day all month, I now like music I previously didn’t pursue or know about when I hear it, because the version I know is just the hookiest part, over the hookiest part from something it amusingly and perfectly matches. Girl Talk does not demand familiarity with all its samples, but is a gateway to familiarity with a variety of music to which you would not otherwise listen—and then you do.

I definitely got a lot out of Mashup Breakdown (it gets a little sloppy at the end). It visualizes every sample and shows how many layers there are, how brief some of them are, and how the track divisions, already said to be arbitrary divisions in a cohesive whole, should really be 30 seconds long, the average length of a pairing. The only twist is that you’ll still prefer the 20 seconds of sample to the whole song, the epitome of Girl Talk’s zeitgeist ADHD.

I’m listening to the whole thing as we go, and I just heard just enough of Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” with a Fugazi bass-grinding in the background, which sounds a lot like the pop-metal my ears like best. You will find yourself wondering things like “has anyone actually written a song whose lyrics are ‘let’s have sex’?” (yes) or how rare self-deprecating rap is (Hi, Kanye). The frequent conjunction of black vocalists and white instrumentation often synthesizes into something onto which I want to project deep thoughts about the contrasts between self-aggrandizing hip hop and self-effacing rock, their harmonizing themes, and Obama. Deconstructing wouldn’t detract from the fun, but All Day is already a deconstruction.

Revel, do not lament, in things that actually exist, and may exist for the sake of seven seconds of heaven. Nothing is made worse than it already was by inclusion in this pop orgy, quite a lot is amplified, and the looming threat of Too Much Noise never occurs. Some of these samples are barely teases—whether of something you do or don’t want to hear—or practically inaudible.

Despite the tracks not matching the units, almost out of habit one picks favorite and less liked tracks. “Get It Get It” (as, yes, That Music Site mentions) is probably the consistent best. For one thing, it introduces (with “Bad Romance”) one of the funniest re-appropriations you will ever hear, if you, so says the title, Get It.

First, if you’ve never seen it, go watch Aphex Twin’s video for “Windowlicker,” Chris Cunningham’s rap video satire. Greg Gillis gives Aphex Twin’s wordless IDM, for lyrics, Soulja Boy’s “Pretty Boy Swag”—lyrics that narrate Richard D. James’s swagger and grotesque narcissism—marrying the thing parodized to the parody, and mocking ironic distance. Money is shot. And then, with barely a pause, Rage Against the Machine punctuated with a “bang” by M.I.A. You could only make this stuff up. Then straight into the absurd litany of Pitbull going all, “we’re at the hotel motel Holiday Inn” with Depeche Mode! LMFAO. Oh, and then Daft Punk, because they always work, and finally just that “Kids” scream.

You save so much drug money! Don’t refill your antidepressants! Take a cocaine vaccine!

The core moment of the whole thing matches “20th Century Boy” to MSTRKRFT’s duet of “All I Do Is Party,” which is Gillis’s, or at least this album’s, motto. Now, I’ve been hearing that what makes All Day really work are the little breaks it has, where the music just cruises along—shaggy dog. Sorry, I’ve caught abbreviated simile—hashtag rap. There’s a lot of it. Here comes Nicki Minaj over “Don’t Fear The Reaper;” god that’s genius. Honestly, just that guest bit is better than any of the solo stuff I’ve heard from her, but that’s a tangent; the girls are already all standing in the line for the bathroom, somewhere they went for dancing in the dark.

The swagger of the best parts of all pop songs speaks directly for the show-don’t-tell boasting Greg’s doing here: how encyclopedic and omnivorous must you be to hear all these similarities but have them go by so fast, or, in another form of conspicuous bravado, go on so long through several musical changes?

It truly is one long mixtape, with refrains provided not by repeating samples but by picking up on lyrical tropes throughout the last 30 years of pop music.

Finally it winds down. You’ve either been dancing and are exhausted, or kind of want to replay. Watch out for the endorphin crash.

Girl Talk’s All Day was released on November 15, 2010 and is available as a free download.

Tour Dates:
Mon 1/31/11—Baltimore, MD @ Ram’s Head
Tue. 2/01/11—Washington, D.C. @ 9:30 Club
Fri 2/04/11—Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
Sat 2/05/11—Montclair, NJ @ Wellmont Theatre
Thu 2/24/11—New York, NY @ Terminal 5 (SOLD OUT)
Fri 2/25/11—Providence, RI @ Lupo’s
Sat 2/26/11—Boston, MA @ House of Blues
Mon 2/28/11—Portland, ME @ State Theater
Mon 3/01/11—Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
Thu 3/03/11—Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Music Hall
Fri 3/04/11—Chicago, IL @ Congress Theater
Mon 3/07/11—Madison, WI @ Orpheum
Tue 3/08/11—Minneapolis, MN @ First Ave
Fri 3/11/11—Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
Mon 3/14/11—Missoula, MT @ Wilma Theater
Tue 3/15/11—Seattle, WA @ Showbox
Thu 3/17/11—Portland, OR @ Roseland
Fri 3/18/11—Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
Sat 3/19/11—Pomona, CA @ Fox Theatre
Mon 3/21/10—Los Angeles, CA @ Palladium
Tue 3/22/10—San Diego, CA @ SOMA
Wed 3/23/10—Tempe, AX @ Marquee

2 Responses to “Girl Talk, All Day

  1. Tweets that mention Popshifter » Girl Talk, All Day --
    February 2nd, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by and, Alex. Alex said: Popshifter » Girl Talk, All Day (You could ask me why I like this album. She does a better job explaining) […]

  2. Popshifter » Let The Kids Dance: Girl Talk:
    March 23rd, 2011 at 10:02 am

    […] Girl Talk played the Roseland Theater on Thursday, a sold-out all-ages show. All Ages meant that the booze was at the bar on the balcony for those with ID. It also meant that the floor was crowded with under-21 girls in fine 80s fashion, and their boys in fine ironicwear. There was a great deal of excited running around and kissing, which reminded me of self-conscious high school dances. You could cut the painful self-awareness with a knife. In fact, I’m surprised that there wasn’t a kid there with a big knife labelled “to cut the self-awareness with.” There were more sweatband headbands and rat-tail haircuts than there should be in any era. Is the guy wearing the PBR t-shirt aware of its long identification with “hipster” culture? Is he now wearing it as an ironic comment on how people have been wearing it ironically? The mind reels. […]

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