By Girl Talk. Illegal Art.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to bear witness to the holy union of these two songs: Do you, Jay Z’s ‘Big Pimpin,’ take this, The Jackson 5’s ‘ABC,’ as your overdubbed remix of a partner for as long as drunken college students think it’s catchy ...”
A classic mashup. Two or more similarly indulgent Billboard Top 40 songs of the week, edited together by some idiot with a laptop to form a total pop-culture trash-out of little ingenuity. Then along came Girl Talk.
To be sure, Girl Talk’s Gregg Gillis is no idiot -- a biomedical engineer by profession, he recently quit his day job to pursue DJ-ing full-time. Furthermore, these ain’t no cut-and-paste, fleeting hits. They’re a series of the best 15 seconds of every song you’ve heard in the last 15 years, wrapped into a single 60-minute block engineered to make you move. With samples as numerous as their BPM, each and every Girl Talk set is like an intricately woven screen of sound as lyrical phrases intertwine with perfect beat transitions, illuminating Girl Talk’s omnipotent attention to detail that even the stoutest haters can’t deny.
Equally as impressive as his widely received 2006 release, Night Ripper, Girl Talk’s latest contains some of the most blast-worthy moments in modern mashup history since, well, Night Ripper: A cut and sampled Kelly Clarkson backed by more head-banging power than anyone has likely fathomed (provided by Nine Inch Nail’s “Wish”), to which MC Hammer’s “Too Legit To Quit” is soon added, creating an unreasonable triad that only Gillis could make possible. Then there’s Li'l Wayne’s “Lollipop,” a song which I formerly found tasteless (no pun intended) before hearing it warped into a dance-floor R&B ballad as backed by Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under The Bridge.” But the seminal 30 seconds that has to be heard to be believed is the ingeniously punned combination of Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” with Three Six Mafia’s “I’d Rather,” which, if you have any familiarity with the two tracks, should have you speculating at the rather explicit outcome.
Which brings us to the next point: Yes, Feed the Animals does indeed continue in the spirit of Night Ripper’s unapologetically sexually explicit content. Known for making music that celebrates sex and pop inseparably, this and every other Girl Talk album is conservatively rated NC-17.
Girl Talk has been the backbone of the soundtracks to countless blacked-out, half-clothed college parties from here to Ohio for the last two years. In the midst of one of those many chaotic moments, who knows how many people have thrown their hands in the air with tears in their eyes (and I don’t think I’m being overly dramatic here) upon recognition of that Ace of Base sample, or Salt-n-Pepa, or Cat Stevens, all of whom incidentally appear in the same stretch of track three. That’s right, Ace of Base, Salt-n-Pepa andCat Stevens. How does he bring so much magic into one room? Illegally, which realistically with artists’ contracts the way they are these days, is the only way anyone could get away with an album like Feed the Animals. In the making for nearly two years, Gillis’ second LP is composed almost entirely of un-cleared samples, though he has yet to be contacted by a single A&R rep with a notice of “cease and desist or pay up.”
Released somewhat ironically through the sample-specialized label Illegal Art, the album has been made publicly available online through a “name your price” transaction. I paid $5, which in addition to feeling like a fair amount for something I hadn’t heard yet, earned me the bonus access to the FLAC file download, as well as a continuous one-track mp3 of the entire album, though generous patrons of the popular arts who wish to pay upwards of $10 can additionally obtain a physical copy of the album, to be released Sep. 23.