Girl Talk, All Day

Girl Talk, All Day

Okay. I think, finally, that I get it. Up to now, I’d vehemently resisted Gregg Gillis’s primary-colored, seemingly universally-lauded mashup artistry under the Girl Talk moniker, shrugging it off as a neat trick and not much more, and definitely not worth a serious listen.

And now, having rolled all the way through Girl Talk’s latest release, All Day (which you can grab for free right over here, by the way), I’m having to eat my words. Why? Well, to put it bluntly, because All Day is a ridiculously, insanely, mind-blowingly fun.

Gillis’s genius lays less in his ability to mash together disparate chunks of music in genre-destroying ways (A Flock of Seagulls lurking beneath Drake? Gucci Mane and the FYC? Devo and Ice Cube? Nice…) and more in his incomprehensible skill at making it all sound like the soundtrack to the best party you’ve never been invited to. All Day freaking demands you grin as it unfurls, making you seat-dance even when you really shouldn’t, and it’s damn near irresistible.

Beyond that, of course, there is the jaw-dropping mechanicality of it all; I saw a screening of a Kutiman video a while back and was stunned to unbelieving laughter at the thought that somebody could even do something like that, layering as many as a dozen different clips of YouTube videos together and somehow make a real-live composition out of ’em.

Girl Talk works in a similar fashion, cribbing bits and pieces from everywhere and building the aural equivalent of a collage, made out of whatever comes out of the headphones. And like Kutiman, the end result defies my own expectations, both in terms of what human beings can hold in their brains and what should honestly qualify as “art.” In my book, after listening to All Day in its entirety, I absolutely fall on the “yes” side of that particular argument.

There’s the side benefit, too, of Gillis suddenly making me go, “oh, yeah…” and remember a song I used to love but hadn’t heard in far, far too long (“Possum Kingdom,” by Toadies, in one case), and then make sure I remember other parts so I can go back and see who the hell’s singing/rapping/playing what, because it sounds like it’d be great on its own. (If you want to do the same, industrious people have already mapped the whole thing out — check out Mashup Breakdown for one, and Illegal Art’s got the definitive list up here.)

At the end of the day, Girl Talk’s taken my doubt, my cynicism, my narrow definition of “real” music, thrown it a crazy grin and dragged it all along on a wild ride through a galaxy of sound cut-and-pasted together in ways I never thought would work. Gillis comes off like an exuberant, eyes-wide-open kid who just wants everybody else in the universe to hear music the way he does. And yeah, now I want ’em to, too.

[Girl Talk is playing 1/13/11 at Verizon Wireless Theater.]
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Review by . Review posted Thursday, January 13th, 2011. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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One Response to “Girl Talk, All Day

  1. Spencer Flanagan on January 26th, 2011 at 1:51 am

    I LOVE this album! Probably my favorite Girl Talk
    record!

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