Girl Talk has been making top-40 pop safe for music snobs for years, and on his latest album All Day, Greg Gillis (the man behind the stage name) continues his quest of reinventing party mainstays. Gillis is adept at crafting deliriously triumphant dance albums, scouring other artists’ works and refashioning them into a brand-new sound. On All Day, Gillis rescues long-forgotten songs from the dark recesses of music history and mixes them with previously unlistenable pop and other, more respected tracks. The result is a hodgepodge of genres and guilty pleasures. And this is probably your only chance to hear Willow Smith open for the Rolling Stones. That should be all the incentive needed.

Girl Talk

All Day
Illegal Art

To avoid the legal nightmare of attempting to sell an album that samples an entire spectrum of other artists, Gillis sidestepped the traditional album release and made All Day available to download for free via his label’s website — aptly titled Illegal Art. As a testament to Girl Talk’s underground popularity (the album was released unannounced), millions downloaded the album on the first day. Although Gillis split the album into separate tracks, the label website instructs fans to listen to the album in its entirety. And honestly, it would be impossible to completely break down this album. On each track Gillis samples from a large pool of artists and masterfully mixes them until it is impossible to distinguish Lil Jon from Arcade Fire.

Girl Talk induces a unique giddiness. Album opener “Oh No” will cause listeners to laugh at the shock value and marvel at its inventiveness. On the track, The Cali Swag District (of “Teach Me How To Dougie” fame) is spliced with alt-darling Jane’s Addiction. Gillis certainly has an ear for bringing together artists that are often genres and generations apart (for instance, Iggy Pop and the Beastie Boys share the same track). It takes true skill to craft an album that will cause both you and your mom to be hit with dizzying waves of nostalgia.

“That’s Right” pulls from perhaps the most ragtag group of artists on the album. It isn’t often Miley Cyrus, Nine Inch Nails and Dr. Dre work together so harmoniously. Toward the beginning of the track, contemporary adult crooner Peter Gabriel’s painfully sappy “In Your Eyes” plays softly as Foxy Brown sings “Guess who’s back?” And she’s right; Gillis polishes these washed-up stars and makes them gleam for a whole new generation.

All Day is a pure party album, and the seamless transitions — the songs melt into each other — suggest that there will be no bathroom breaks until Gillis says so. His playful song titles reinforce the sweaty, joyous attitude the album works to convey. “This is the Remix” is probably the most fun anyone could compress into six minutes as the likes of Lady Gaga, The Clash and Lil Kim team up for an extended dance party. Gillis cleverly starts the song with Diddy, announcing “This is the remix.”

But not all of the mixes work. On “Triple Double,” his attempt to make Beyonce’s “Diva” work with Phoenix’s “1901” falls flat — it’s a painfully awkward 10 seconds. Still, Gillis doesn’t falter for long and any misguided mix can, within a matter of seconds, send listeners back into musical nirvana.

All Day is an intriguing album that makes listeners reconsider songs or even entire genres they may have written off. This album is literally nothing new, but it is certainly fun while it lasts. On the last track “Every Day,” John Lennon closes the album with “Imagine.” He sings, “Imagine all the people / sharing all the world,” as he joins hands with UGK (metaphorically speaking). Gillis makes this dream a reality, and in true diplomatic fashion finds common ground between vastly different artists. He creates a safe space for listeners and musicians, where artists like Soulja Boy and Radiohead have an equally valid voice.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.