I can’t review Girl Talk.
It’s just impossible to try and quantify what Greg Gillis does into a series of explanations, rankings, and ratings in the musical landscape. I’m not sure if Gillis is a genius, but somehow the sweaty-headed Pittsburgh computer-spinner knows how to put songs together like no one else. He may not irrevocably influence thousands of artists and change the face of music entirely, but he will create albums and throw shows that are the closest thing to a self-contained party that you will ever find.
His latest release, distributed for free from his website, is more fun than anything I’ve heard in a long time. Like his 2006 underground mega-hit release Night Ripper, Feed the Animals is a scrapbook, a hodgepodge of some of your absolutely favorite music and songs that you would never in good conscience flip the dial to. When your mind starts to handle one “song,” you get a flip-hop-flop-trip that never lets you get comfortable with anything. Want proof of the insanity? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feed_the_AnimalsThis page is trying to catalogue every single track sampled on the album. I would never bother trying to count them. They come from nearly every era, every genre, and in no other context will ever be seen or heard in the same location. But somehow Gillis makes it work.
You should know that at its very heart, Gillis’s makes ass-shaking music that will direct nearly every single person to the nearest dance floor. It doesn’t matter if you’re white, a nerd, or an absolutely pretentious little scene kidâ€”when this music kicks in, you’re going to be reduced to a sweating, dancing, screaming. It’s a given. If you don’t know the song sampled, it doesn’t matter, because in a matter of seconds, you can go from Bachman/Turner/Overdrive to Michael Jackson/Snoop Dogg. Girl Talk’s mixes are more ridiculous than any other guilty pleasure that you might have in your life, and just at the point that you can’t handle the R-rated lyrical overload, the voice of the 90’s omnipresent Dawson’s Creek starts singing about how she can’t wait for our lives to be over, and you realize that somehow Gillis is making these songs into more than lyrical pornography.
Unlike Night Ripper, this album operates under a barely restrained frenetic fury for the first half of the album, holding back just a little, but when you hit track ten, “In Step,” the album explodes like the smile stretching across my face when I listened. When Gillis samples “Since U Been Gone,” it makes you think that just maybe Kelly Clarkson was good for something. After you hit “In Between Days,” the last track manages to tie the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, and Lil’ Wayne together into a ridiculous conclusion that pumps out Gillis’s one message (if there is one) loud and clear: “Keep your heart and play your part.”
Feed the Animals cannot be compared to any other full-scale compilation out on the market, which makes it nearly impossible to criticize. If you liked Night Ripper, you’ll love this one, if you hated it (assuming that’s possible), then you’ll hate this. I’m not entirely sure what this album means for the world of music—maybe it shouldn’t legitimately be considered music. Maybe Gillis’ cut-and-paste niche is just a fad-setting novelty act. I don’t care. This party is far too much fun to walk away from.
Nathan Martin is a Patrol music editor.
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