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Girl Talk – Night Ripper

August 1, 2006

There almost seems to be a genre of music that consists entirely of music that thrives on samples. There are several artists who coast on this questionable music. DJ Shadow, Backini, Fatboy Slim, etc. What a lot of these people seem to do is create a beat and compliment it with old samples from vinyl and music that was popular years and years ago. It’s sort of like recycling, in a way, because this old music was most likely never even liked, and when it went through the DJ treatment, it becomes something good, likable, and sometimes even popular. And interesting to listen to as well. People have been sampling old, strange music for years, especially in the ambient genre but also in pop. But this album is something different.

First off, it is completely illegal. Everything about this album was stolen, and stolen without permission at that. Hell, the album was even released on a label called Illegal Art. This guy is just asking to get his ass sued off. And he will, don’t worry. It’s sort of the same type of situation as what Danger Mouse did with the Grey Album, a somewhat passively acclaimed mock up album of Jay-Z and The Beatles. And if an artists can get put in jail for copyright infringement of two artists, how about a hundred? Maybe more? That’s what this guy known as Girl Talk does. But he does it in such a radically different way than say, Fatboy Slim or DJ Shadow because what he samples are songs that you hear on the radio today. He basically melds alternative rock and pop with mainstream and underground rap. And then he does that for an entire album making the beats meld. For that reason, listening to this album is quite fun. Everyone, and I mean everyone, even the musically declined, will recognize samples in this album. You will recognize more if you listen to the weekly top fourty, but you will also recognize a lot of you are a fan of stuff that was popular in the eighties and nineties.

It’s a great party album, as the album sucks up to any given listener. Rap fans will enjoy the beat and the heavy bass, and rock fans will like the sophistication and guitars that constantly make the songs melodic. And fans of both rap and rock will love the samples from each respective genre. The entire album never even really stops until the end either. It’s essentially one big song when you consider how rapid fire the music is, and it is really just a non-stop funfest segmented into different parts, which is good, because if you like songs with certain samples, you can skip right to where you want to go. And if you don’t care and you feel like rap, rock, or both, you can listen to the album nonstop. In retrospect, I can see this album being a revelation of sorts. I can see it being very influential in the future because very few people have made it their goal to blatantly steal from so many people and then make it into something really cool and call it their own. Will it be a revelation? I somehow doubt it. I just can’t see there being any revolutions like that in this day and age. It’s not the seventies anymore, unfortunately.

Anyway, I really did enjoy a lot of the samples on here. I heard The Pixies, I heard Smokey Robinson, I heard Sonic Youth, and all that really pleased me. And then when you put these samples in songs with famous rappers, it’s a very strange but pleasing result. It’s not really an album that everyone will love, but it’s an album that everyone will like. The best track on the album is Smash Your Head, and it is quite the doozie. It really caught my ear because it samples at first rap, and then pairs it up with possibly my favorite track from my favorite band, Scentless Apprentice by Nirvana. I wish I could have seen the look on my face. I know what I was thinking. I know my eyes widened and I had a confused smile on my face, but a describtion can’t do justice to the situation. It’s so simple, yet so classic and perverse. I was tapping my fingers to the beat that I know and love so much not even knowing where it came from, and then the electric squall gave it away. Anyone that can effectively sample Young Jeezy, Nirvana, and a skewed Elton John sample (that had ALREADY been sampled, mind you) all in one song deserves some serious props.

It’s a fun album to listen to. Especially with other people. But it’s just so hard for me to grade this. Half of me wants to put it in the 9/10 range, and the other half in the 7/10 range. When I think about it, this isn’t really that ingenious. People have done mock ups before. And the fact that everything on the album (EVERYTHING) was stolen and only really aknowledged as someone elses in the liner notes is kind of bad. I mean, copyright infringement isn’t cool, but this guy knows what he’s getting into and he seems okay with it. And it’s just generally enjoyable music. I suppose my complaint is that there wasn’t enough alternative rock sampled, because that is my genre of choice, and top fourty pop, rap, and hip hop were sampled a little too much in my opinion. There is nothing cool about the Ying Yang twins besides the fact that they are so bad they are good, so this is a tad too forward on the rap samples. And yet, I don’t even like rap, but I liked this. I have to give it some kind of props, because I did really enjoy it. I know that this guy will be in court for a while if not in jail for a while, and if he finally does get untangled from all that, I can only hope he tries his trade again, because I have heard his earlier work isn’t as good as this, and I’m told he’s just getting better.

On a side note, I’m thinking about doing a feature for this publication. I’m pretty much midway into a project that I’m thinking of calling “Thirty Great Games.” Just thirty great video games that are my personal favorites with describtions of each and why they are good. It’s just an idea I’m throwing out. It’s almost done, so I might post it. We shall see.

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One comment

  1. dangermouse didn’t get put in jail. you can sample songs without asking permission if it falls under Fair Use.



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