Week 30 Review

Girl Talk – All Day (2010)

Bottom Line Up Front: This is a 4.75 out of 5 stars album. Saying Girl Talk aka Gregg Gillis is at the top of the mashup scene is an understatement. He’s more like Zeus atop Mount Olympus throwing remixed thunderbolts at all the mere mortals. Describing him as anything other than a god is an insult to him and the perfection he has achieved of his craft. He’s that damn good.

Artist BackgroundGreg Gillis aka Girl Talk didn’t enter the music scene using the stereotypical slacker path. He studied biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University with a focus on tissue engineering. Girl Talk released his first album in 2002 while still in college. His early albums were of the glitch genre which to me sound like you’re listening to an Atari game on acid. Don’t expect me to review any of those. Eventually he quit his engineering job in 2007 to focus on music full-time. But how did I hear about Girl Talk? Rip: A Remix Manifesto, of course, which you can watch right now if you click on the link. I highly suggest watching it. It’s very entertaining and is a great introduction to remix culture. It’s probably even more relevant now than in 2008 when it was released.

Album Background: The album, All Day, clocks in at 1 hour and 11 minutes and is considered to be part of the mashup genre. If you don’t know what the mashup genre is, I’m going to yet again encourage you to watch Rip. That’ll explain it way better than I can. It’s divided up into 12 tracks buts it’s really meant to be listened to as a single continuous experience as each track flows seamlessly into the next. Want to listen to whole album? Well, you do all that by clicking here. It’s available as one continuous track or split up into 12 tracks. And it’s even available in FLAC if MP3 isn’t your bag. All Day was released for free in 2010 and his concert tour sold out shortly afterward unsurprisingly. So he definitely has found his audience. You can also find some videos on Youtube where people match up the music videos of the original songs with the mashed up versions. Here’s one I found. They’re pretty entertaining.

Favorite Track: Like I pointed out earlier, there aren’t actually 12 tracks on this album. There are dividing points to allow you to get to a certain part of the album easily. I could talk about the entire album in great detail since that’s the only favorite track I could pick or I could go with something a little more sane which is to talk about a couple standout moments for me. The album starts out really strong by combining Black Sabbath’s War Pigs and Ludacris’s Move Bitch. They’re both pretty intense songs that get your heart pumping right away which is really helpful if you’re going to a Girl Talk concert. That place will be overflowing with non-stop energy until Greg closes the lid on his Windows notebook. The combination of Jay-Z’s Can I Get A… and Tenderness by General Public works well because of the contrast between the two songs. ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky and Juicy J’s Twerk mashup work for much the same reason. Combining Radiohead’s Creep with Ol’ Dirty Bastard rapping the lyrics from Shimmy Shimmy Ya was something I looked forward to on every play of the album. The ODB should have been a part of the band. So much lost potential there. Later on Aphex Twin gets paired with Soulja Boy. I think I like that one because the idea of them together is hilarious. I also loved the pairing of Nicki Minaj and Blue Oyster Cult every time I heard it. Her voice works really well with the music. But I think my most favorite pairing on the entire album is combining Rolling Stones’s Paint It Black with Wiz Khalfia’s Black and Yellow. Brilliant.

What Works: 

  • Nostalgia Listening to a Girl Talk album is probably the most intense nostalgia trip you will ever take. It’s just off the charts. He covers quite a few decades in this album so it’s going to be pretty difficult to be immune to it unless you’re a 5 year old. In which case, I’m very impressed with your reading and comprehension skills. But anyways, nostalgia plays a huge factor in the appeal of his albums. It’s incredibly addictive once you start listening to it.
  • Everybody Having attended a Girl Talk concert with my editor, I can say without a doubt that he attracts a very wide audience. You will see the biggest music nerd standing right next to the most stereotypical sorority girl you could imagine. They might like Girl Talk for completely different reasons but I bet they enjoy him equally. Knowing this album can appeal to such a diverse audience while being part of a niche genre makes it that much more enjoyable for me. All Day is all about having fun regardless of who you are.
  • <insert here> I think the part I love most is noticing the little things that Greg throws into the album. Some samples can last well over a minute and they are really the heart of the music, but I love the samples that appear and disappear in a beat or two. I try to listen to a lot of different kinds of music and I didn’t even come close to knowing all of the songs used to make this album. When I could recognize an obscure lyric or note that quickly passed by, it gave me a little music nerd high. Like I said, his music is addictive. And I’m not the only one interested in figuring out what was sampled and when. Decoding the album was a pretty big thing when it was first released. For those of you who want to know, here is everything.

What Doesn’t:

  • Pony No, not the song by Ginuwine. Though it is actually sampled for this album. I’m talking about the fact that Girl Talk is a one trick pony. That’s probably the only valid complaint against this album which is that it’s the same thing over and over again for over an hour: take a rap song and combine with a pop or rock song. Repeat. But I won’t make that complaint because I think it’s like somebody complaining about being tired of eating chocolate too often. I’ve never heard anybody say “You know, I’m just really tired of eating chocolate chip cookies.” And I would say the same thing about Girl Talk’s music. Enough is never enough of the stuff.

In Conclusion: I couldn’t give this album 5 stars even if I wanted to because his prior album, Feed the Animals, is better. Coincidentally, that album is featured on Rip which is another reason you should watch the documentary. FtA is packed with even more nostalgia and fun, if you can believe it. However, I think All Day is technically superior in terms of actual mixing. Greg is always improving his skills and it’s clear he has advanced quite a bit between the release of the two albums. This is one of only a handful of albums that I’m going to be reviewing that you can go download for free right now so go take advantage and get ready to have some incredible fun.

Music Video Links:
Girl Talk – All Day (Official Video)

Streaming/Purchase Links:

Information Links:
Wikipedia Artist
ikipedia Album
Official Site

Week 6 Review

This week I’m reviewing a recent album from 3 guys who started a band 13 years before I was born. I am of course talking about the return of Black Sabbath to the recording studio with their album 13.  

Artist: Black Sabbath {Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer butler (bass guitar), Brad Wilk instead of Bill Ward (drums)}
Album: 13
Year: 2013
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 3.9/5

Worth Your Time? Especially if you’re behind on your monthly headbangs.

Twitter Review: Having been fed a healthy diet of nu-metal through all of college, listening to the band that inspired all of them was incredibly refreshing.

Top 3 Tracks: 

  1. Zeitgeist (if you watch only one video watch this one)
  2. Age of Reason
  3. God Is Dead

Things to Look For:

  • Geezer’s Lyrics. I don’t know what to say other than it felt like Ozzie was singing Sabbath songs just for me. I’ve been doing a lot of spiritual/intellectual self-examination lately so this album really resonated with me. I loved and appreciated Geezer Butler’s word play on this album so much.
  • Rocking out with the boys of Black. I had so much fun listening to 13.  It’s pretty hard to listen and not catch yourself doing some at least light headbanging as Black Sabbath rocks out. It reminds a lot of the joy I get from cranking AC/DC’s Back In Black or Nirvana’s Nevermind album in my car on the way to work in the morning.
  • Iommi’s Solos and Riffs. While they may not be his best work as he is one of the greatest of all-time with an incredible back catalog that would make a 16-year-old schoolgirl blush, I still enjoyed them immensely. Iommi kicks more ass in his mid 60’s than you ever did or ever will. That’s just a fact of life.

Low Points: Pretty positive review so far, right? So is there anything negative to say about this album? You betcha. The stuff I’m going to talk about didn’t necessarily limit enjoyment of the album but makes me wonder if this album could have been better. I wish there could have been a little less jamming on the songs and instead they had been tightened up some more. The majority of songs clock in over 7 minutes so it’s incredibly easy to get lost in the rhythms of rock and not be totally sure which song you are currently listening to unfortunately. Actually, if you’re not paying attention, you probably won’t even catch the start of the next song.  Part of the reason I think Zeitgeist was my top song was because it was so musically different from the other 7.

Anything Else: I often wondered if you’re old enough to have an AARP card, do you need to turn in your ROCK card?  While this may be true for some bands that held on to their cards to the point of being ridiculous, I think Black Sabbath showed me that they can still remain relevant even in 2013.

Finally and most importantly, anybody else think it’s weird that Brad Wilk (the drummer) and Bill Ward (the drummer he replaced) are one letter away from being anagrams of each other and that letter difference is K and L which are right next to each other in the alphabet? Seriously. That’s pretty random. About as random as my Facebook News Feed:

Additional Links: