Girl Talk - All Day
8.6 out of 10
Two years after the release of “Feed the Animals,” Greg Gillis, more commonly known as Girl Talk, has become the unquestioned icon of a genre known as “mash-up.” Mash-up is, to be clear, a collection of giant song collages morphed into attractive dance floor singles. Gillis, with a sincere ear for timing and how to work a Macbook, has been making albums since the early 2000s behind Illegal Art, the label that supports what many would consider to be his illegal use of other artists’ work.
Gillis and the label have been facing lawsuits from various record labels and artists due to their notorious distribution – free for anyone. After Gillis started to gather a cult following in club scenes across the U.S., Illegal Art gave out copies of his 2006 album “Night Ripper” for free on their website. Since then, Girl Talk’s reputation for joyous dance gatherings with little more than Gillis, his laptop and a couple hundred dancers, has preceded him. This has made him one of modern music’s soft-spoken icons.
“All Day,” released Tuesday, Nov. 15, was met with a rigorous fever of hungry fans trying to pry their download from the website. Word spread fast and many fans had to wait hours for a successful download, but for those who did, they experienced a similar unfiltered joy that came with Girl Talk’s previous two albums.
The 12-track album is a modern retooling of Gillis’s previous two entries, complete with well-recognized rap, dance, pop and rock songs with the occasional indie music twist. The best moments in “All Day” come when Gillis’ clever concoctions spool together in an easily recognizable, ushered pace, where neither music snob nor Top 40 fan is isolated. Instantly recognizable acts, such as The Black Eyed Peas, Ke$ha and Jay-Z are mixed in with roaming cycles of indie and classic rock, from The Who and Black Sabbath to Arcade Fire and New Order. Indeed, no popular music stone is left unturned after the album’s hour-plus playtime.
While “All Day” isn’t a clear departure from “Feed the Animals” or “Night Ripper,” the two-year layoff between albums has allowed Gillis to amass a new collection of material, effectively recycling the method that’s worked for years. At times, “All Day” shows deceptive emotion, parlaying emotionless songs in front of chorus’s from John Lennon’s “Imagine” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Cecilia.” For every heartening turn, there always seems to be the overuse of certain artists, such as Ludacris and Beyonce. But even then, moments like hearing M.O.P’s “Ante Up” in front of Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” erode any concept of boredom.
For a genre that has a severe disconnection from a massive audience, Gillis is an accessible bridge between the often bewildering dance club scene and somewhat unremarkable pop radio. “All Day” could be the decade’s first dance/pop montage, but two years from now Gillis will release a new record that will make fans forget about it. In a way, that’s what Gillis has been able to manipulate for years – a collective conduit of memories for every listener, who find their own joy with every 15-second change.