Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Formula of a Mashup: Girl Talk's All Day

Remember the movie Pretty in Pink? In case you don't care for John Hughes/were born in the 90's/have a penis, I'll run it down as painlessly as possible:

Andie (free spirit) + wrong side of the tracks + 1 alcoholic dad - 1 living mother + (2 boys' love ÷ 1 rich boy, 1 poor boy) + dramatic arguments x emotional climax ± rain = She finally gets to go to prom!

But poverty + quirkiness = homemade prom dress. Thus: mother's gown + conveniently like-coloured dress from boss ÷  tragic use of scissors = dress like a hobo drag queen's bindle if said drag queen were sponsored by the Pepto Bismol company.  Really, this dress may have singlehandedly ruined the film. It's lazy, ugly, confusing. It is the very definition of a bad, bad mashup.

And with that bizarre segue, I can say that Girl Talk (aka Gregg Gillis) has developed a system far better than Andie's.  Relying on his tried and true "1 part hip hop +1part rock/pop ÷ instrumental track = album" formula, Gillis has just put out his fifth mashup, making him veritable master of genre.

But what was once formula might be getting formulaic.  Even Gillis shows signs of tiring; Feed the Animals and Night Ripper both felt tighter than All Day which starts strong but slowly loses steam after the halfway mark, finally winding down into an inexplicably slow, unmixed heap of John Lennon. It's sagging like Andie' dress around this point.

If All Day has something over the albums before it's the material it samples.  In addition to the expected base of Ludacris, Run DMC, 2Live Crew, Notorious BIG, 50 Cent, Ice Cube, JayZ, NWA, etc  Gillis throws in everything but the musical kitchen sink including Iggy Pop, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Lady Gaga, Blue Oyster Cult, Kylie Minogue, The Rolling Stones, U2, Simon and Garfunkel, Rage Against the Machine, The Talking Heads, Beck, Cream...I've not even come close to naming half of them. Some will argue that it's unfocused but you can't deny that it's more fun, relying less on beats and allowing melodies to win out occasionally. For someone like me, who's less about the hip-hop, it's a nice switch.  And at the end of the day, there is really nothing to argue over, here. These are mashups. It's musical candy. It would take a special kind of buzzkill to get too stressed about it. It's supposed to be fun and fun it is.

As per usual, Girl Talk is making the entire thing available at Illegal Art, meaning even if you're poor like Andie you can still get it because it's completely and totally free.

(Some samples of the entire 58 minute block:)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...