Monday, June 30, 2008

Album Review: Girl Talk

Girl Talk
Feed the Animals
NQL Rating: You'll probably like it.

When the opening track mixes “Nothing Compares to U” to a rapper chanting "I was gettin’ some head, yeah, I was gettin’ some head" you had better strap in for the ride. Mix Ace of Base’s “All That You Want” with the Band’s “the Weight” with a dab of “Footloose” and Beastie Boys and that’s only ten percent of what makes track three. It’s downright schizophrenic. I can’t focus. I need Ritalin.

Mash-up DJ, Gregg Gillis, a.k.a. Girl Talk, carefully crafted this splendid blender of a delight as a follow-up to 2006’s Night Ripper. Feed the Animals is aptly named, if you’ve ever seen this man live and the flocks that he shepherds. His performances/dance parties are often known for Gillis having crowds dancing with him on stage, and he, in an only natural response to his all-out drenching sweat, strips and ends shows mixing in the buck. He is the anti-anti-perspirant. And I love that less than two years ago he was working in a lab as a biochemical engineer.

This album combines the whimsical with pure badassness, and dares not traverse the ocean that lies between. Top forty songs from before you were born to the present, flitting about one after another anchored by infectious hiphop beats. The sample from a song may be only seconds long, but you know what it’s from. And the second you finally place it, you are already ten samples behind. It’s exhausting, but it also makes you realize how much different music you have been exposed to over your lifetime. I got particularly revved up when Journey, Earth Wind and Fire and Ol’ Dirty Bastard made their cameos. I got a little pre-pukey with Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want To Wait”. (But it also reminded me of how much I loved that show when I was in college). Kelly Clarkson got some extended PT with “Since U Been Gone”. Gladly I report that “Unwritten” did not make the cut. There may even be a mix of Public Enemy and Elvis Costello in there, but then again you may be too preoccupied to notice.

I’ve never understood why Mr. Talk bothers with actual tracks because Feed the Animals is one forty-five minute nonstop dancefest, just like those that came before it. There is no break between the tracks, nor is there really any discernible difference to each of the tracks. I felt silly listening to this at a modest volume while sitting at my computer. I should be blasting it, getting sweaty and naked, feeding the inner beast. Then again maybe I was, but no one will ever know because that’s the beauty of living alone. This is a party essential, and its timely release makes it prime to conquer backyard boozers across the nation this summer. It’s free if you want to be like me and ignore any fiscal accountability to the artist (I clicked the “I might donate later” box when asked why I chose not to donate money for the album download). Although I think I like Night Ripper more at this point, but that's purely because this mishmash style was a novelty to me when I first heard it. I thought Girl Talk was pure genius for mixing the Pharcyde with Elton John in Night Ripper. I probably haven’t allowed Feed the Animals enough playtime to let it seep into my consciousness and land in its final resting place on my personal ranklist. Nevertheless, this is fun and you should get your head checked if you don’t get dancey to this.

P.S. I think we may have an early frontrunner for album cover of the year with Feed the Animals. I mean, Girl Talk’s initials scrawled in flames across the front lawn of a vinyl-sided home in suburbia? C’mon!!!

--Audrey Wen

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