November 21, 2010
The new Girl Talk album
I've been trying to write this for several days, and might finally have figured out how to articulate a couple of unorganized, loosely-related things:
- In a lot of ways, this album is more of the same. If you've heard the last two albums ("Feed the Animals", "Night Ripper") you pretty much know what to expect from this one. This isn't to suggest that it's dull or uninteresting: I had a huge smile on my face listening to this for the first time, starting at 0:05.
- Starting this album with "War Pigs" is so incredibly wonderful and is exactly the kind of thing that makes me love listening to Girl Talk albums. It's also what makes me unable to listen to it without taking notes. This kind of album or music or art form, or whatever it is, is most rewarding if you know and love all different kinds of music. If you like Black Sabbath, New Order, Simon and Garfunkel, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Biggie, and "Tenderness" by the guy from English Beat, you're going to have a better time listening to this album than if you're into just one style of music.
- Obviously, it's the experience of listening to this album and having moment after moment of delighted recognition that is the purpose of this kind of music, album, art form, whatever. The listener's experience is an integral part of all music, just like the viewer looking at a painting or watching a play is an integral part of those art forms.
But with Girl Talk, without the listener hearing "Bust a Move" mixed with "Can't Get You Out of My Head" and laughing, this is just a bunch of snippets of other people's songs. What makes it art, or whatever you want to call it, is what happens in your brain when you listen to it, and that listener response is a more important part of what makes it good than it is for other kinds of music/art/whatever.
- The experience of listening to pop music can actually be permanently changed by listening to Girl Talk albums. Since "Feed the Animals" came out two years ago, I've found myself hearing certain popular songs and thinking, "This is the kind of thing Girl Talk would use." I've heard that DJ's listen to music differently than the rest of us, constantly unconsciously looking for hooks, beats, or segments of two different songs that would go well together. I didn't even realize I had started listening to pop music in terms of Girl Talk using it on an album until I heard this one. Of course Lady Gaga is all over this album, and of course he used a big chunk of Rihanna's sassy "Rude Boy". I didn't even realize I was thinking like this until this album came out, and there these songs are.
I'm not sure if there are moments on this album that reach the transcendent heights of "Night Ripper"'s mix of "Tiny Dancer" and Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy", but there are a few contenders. I especially like "Sour Times" by Portishead with "Shutterbugg" by Big Boi, "Creep" by Radiohead with "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" by ODB, and "Lust for Life" with "Love Game" and "Hey Ladies".
My favorite moment so far is "Ante Up" by M.O.P., a song I've grown to love since seeing the totally genius Bert and Ernie rap video, mixed with Miley Cyrus's "Party in the USA", which somehow captures the sincere, unifying, all-American patriotism of pop music.
You can see all the original tracks listed second-by-second on the album's Wikipedia page.
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