Girl Talk - Feed The Animals
Usually I write semi long-winded reviews about why an album is good or bad, trying to make my opinions appear objective and have merit, but for my review of Feed the Animals I think a personal anecdote serves best:
My friends and I can NEVER find a common ground musically. I personally loathe '80s music; I think it is contrived, pretentious, unoriginal, overly flambouyant, irritating, and bombastic. My friends love it. Any time somebody plays a song it is a compromise for someone else, and during all the road trips we take, the radio inevitably grates on someone's nerves. One day we were driving down to the Jersey shore and we ran out of things to listen to, so I took the AUX plug and put on Girl Talk, and my friends' ears listened attentively as Pete Townshend was mashed with DJ Unk's "Walk It Out" and then shortly after the melody to Rod Stewart's "Young Turks" was integrated into a rap song. Queen, Radiohead, Jay Z, Phil Collins, Aphex Twin, T.I., and Kanye West all then make appearances in the first four or five songs, and in one magical moment, a man under the name of Girl Talk managed to merge our arrayed (and, in many senses, polarized) music preferences into the sickest, most cohesive mix tape ever.
If you want to know what exactly make Girl Talk so interesting objectively, read the excellent review written by user no_death below this one. But for me, this album has some serious subjective value (which is true for most reviewers, though they try to shroud it with fancy words and bold claims); it combines different styles, ideas, and preferences in 40+ minutes of continuous music, be it indie, top 40, rap, rock, pop, you name it. It is the ultimate party mix; it managed to satisfy four friends who never once agreed on music for an entire car ride. So for that reason alone, Feed the Animals is an absolute essential.
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on 2009-07-17 dscanland Said:
Awesome review, no_death. You've got my interest up for Feed The Animals. Thanks!
on 2009-07-17 no_death Said:
Greg Gillis is seen as a criminal. In the eyes of the law he has used work without permission and has been described by magazines as a 'lawsuit waiting to happen.' While working under the pseudonym Girl Talk he has taken hundreds of snippets from artistes work and mixed them together, always referencing the songs but working under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License. However, like the criminal a recently deceased pop icon sang about he's become a particularly smooth one.
Feed The Animals is his fourth album; his first two records were difficult to get into with the styles sounding particularly disjointed and the mixes not refined. His third album though, Night Ripper successfully established the style that he would be utilising today. On Ripper he took various indie and rock cuts (some classic some modern) and mixed them with rap songs to great effect, even if you didn't get all the references you could still enjoy the mixes. Where he's gone from there is incorporating much more mainstream pop songs into his work. A mixture of classics and chart hits which like with all mash-ups are difficult to get right at the risk of destroying two songs in one; but somehow he manages to get a surprisingly high hit ratio.
This is mostly because of the prevailing party nature of the album, a record that anyone could enjoy as they'll find something in there they will click with. There are misses of course, during 'Here's The Thing' the tempos change so wildly throughout the track you can easily get lost and the clashing is distracting. But the thing about this album is even if one section isn't to your liking there'll be another song along again in the next fifteen seconds. This is what gives it the party feel, something feel good you could dip into at any point and enjoy. I first heard it at a party and walked in midway through the album, after one minute I knew I wanted to own it.
The lingering effect of this album is that with enough listens you'll never be able to hear the original songs in the same way again, and little clips of songs will bring you right back to this one. So while the criminality continues, seemingly borrowing his 'pay what you like for the album' scheme from Radiohead, these stolen goods are being passed onto you for a fraction of the price of what they are worth. Make sure you pocket the savings.
on 2009-07-14 fortunecookie Said:
Girl Talk is much like the classic painting, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Far away, it's certainly and impressive, but it's when you look up close that your mind is blown. At first listen, Feed the Animals is like attending a party with the coolest DJ ever -- one who knows how to play recent releases and your favorite classics, and put them in the perfect order. But when you listen carefully, you realize the true complexity. After looking online to see what samples were used in the various songs, I discovered that the number of songs used in each track is a staggering 25. That obviously has the potential to sound indistinguishable and muddled, but every song is seamless and truly a new piece of music.