Girl Talk: All Day
No one has furthered the mash-up genre more than Gregg Gillis. His Girl Talk project first came to prominence with his 2006 CD, Night Ripper. Although his previous releases got some acclaim, they were reviewed by a limited number of sources; Night Ripper got the ever important Pitchfork stamp of approval and the rest is history. Two years later Gillis followed up with Feed the Animals which was equally well received. Now another two years later, Girl Talk releases his fifth album, All Day.
In order to understand my review of All Day, you may need to know my personal history with Girl Talk. In 2006 when Night Ripper came out, I fell in love upon the first listen. I had heard the standard mash-ups that now haunt the internet with frightening prevalence but I had never heard anything quite like what Girl Talk was doing. Every mash-up on the album seemed perfect and the pacing of the album was perfect for the A.D.D. generation. I felt slightly differently about Feed the Animals. My first listen through FTA was disappointing. It felt awkward to me. I thought the transitions were rougher and the source material was more varied but I could not tell if I didn’t like it because I was so used to Night Ripper. So I did what I do with any album I really care about, I listened to it over and over again. I picked out all the moments I didn’t like and dissected them and I think I ended up liking it as much if not more than Night Ripper.
Now comes All Day. A day after getting my copy with the rest of the world I have formed my initial opinion of it and it is not unlike my initial opinion of Feed the Animals; the album feels weird to me. The album starts off with an inspired combo of Black Sabbath‘s “War Pigs” and Ludacris‘s “Move Bitch”. Later in the first track a mash-up of Jane’s Addiction‘s “Jane Says” and Cali Swag District‘s “Teach Me How to Dougie” seems pretty solid too. But the second track is where it gets weird for me. “Let It Out” begins with a mash-up between Ramones‘s “Blitzkrieg Bop” and Missy Elliott‘s “Get Ur Freak On”. The loud, fast, pulsating beat of the Ramones is awkward in the mix but does not even appear to really work with Missy Elliott’s flow. But besides those problems are the problem of transitioning in and out of a punk song smoothly. And although Gillis does handle both the transitions adequately, the whole section seems unnecessary.
Fortunately, that mash-up is the low point of the album for me and it is all uphill from there. Great moments on the album include a mash-up of Spacehog‘s “In the Meantime” and Terror Squad‘s “Lean Back”, Beyonce‘s “Single Ladies” vocals layered over M.O.P.‘s “Ante Up” instrumental, and Jay-Z‘s “Dirt Off Your Shoulders” over Modern English‘s “Melt With You”.
While all those stand out as great moments, it is hard to overlook the final awkward moment of the album. The album closes with John Lennon‘s “Imagine” being sampled. While I have no problem with sampling Lennon, Gillis seems to use “Imagine” as his chance to make the album grander; as if hearing Lennon sing “You may say I’m a dreamer/but I’m not the only one” would be some sort of moment of clarity for the listener. In the end, it just sounds cheesy and having Lennon’s words of “and the world will live as one” and the album’s concluding line just seems inauthentic to me.
Overall, I think I like All Day more initially than I liked Feed the Animals after a day of digesting but I do not see the same potential for All Day growing on me that I saw with FTA. To paraphrase Denny Green, All Day is what I think it is; it is a mash-up album with some grand concepts but occasionally it seems ham-handed and awkward. All mash-ups have those awkward moments but for the movements brightest star, I expected more from his latest album.
MP3: Girl Talk “Oh No”
Download: via Illegal Art
Girl Talk: All Day