Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Girl Talk - All Day

Rating: B+

It's been a great month-plus for free and cheap downloads, and now Gregg Gillis, a.k.a. Girl Talk, has thrown his hat in the ring. I covered a Girl Talk set at Austin City Limits over a year ago, but I hadn't picked up any of his albums until now. Enter the free album, All Day.

If you haven't heard Girl Talk, it's not like anything else out there. Gillis samples tunes from all over the musical spectrum, pairing odd combinations of beats, words, and bass lines and someone making all these twenty-second cuts flow together. He'll layer Ludacris' "Move Bitch (Get Out the Way)" over Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" (this is actually how the album opens), Wiz Khalifa rapping over Keith Richards' guitar, or Birdman's "Money to Blow" over The Arcade Fire's "Wake Up." If you listen to the album straight through, as the download site suggests, you'll see that there's a continuous flow even between songs; the end result is a party dance track that goes on for over an hour.

My favorite thing about All Day is how it indulges one's guilty musical pleasures. Sure, there's U2 and Radiohead and the Ramones and Springsteen, plus indie favorites Phoenix and MGMT, but there's also "oh man I forgot about that guy" rappers Skee-Lo and Citizen King, modern "I won't admit I like this but it gets stuck in my head all day" pop from Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Black Eyed Peas, or angsty alternate throwbacks like The Toadies' "Do You Want To Die?"

There's a note on the site that says "All Day is intended to be listened to as a whole," and it's true that the tracks blend seamlessly together, but it's hard to say it's an album in the sense of there being a cohesive story or message. It's pretty clear there isn't; this is just a celebration of pop music as a form. Repeated listens do reward, as you catch new snippets of songs or clever mixes, but it doesn't hit many emotional chords. The end of the album is an exception, as synthesized claps and hip-hop voices play over John Lennon's "Imagine." It's a bit trite, making explicit the implied link between musical and human togetherness, but dammit, it works. So does All Day.

Download for free at Illegal-Art.net

No comments: