Girl Talk’s “All Day” Fails To Keep The Party Going

All for nothing: Girl Talk’s newest album does a little more messing-up then mashing-up. | Photo Courtesy of phillyist.com

Girl Talk’s newest album, “All Day,” is more focused and coherent than any of his previous albums, which means I don’t really plan on listening to it ever again.

Let me explain.

The first thing one notices about Girl Talk (aka Greg Gillis)’s new album “All Day” is how much less complex it is than the popular mashup artist’s other LPs. “Night Ripper” and “Feed the Animals,” the albums which made Gillis a sensation, were densely crafted mixes, full of samples and juxtapositions that could change on a dime.

However, the problem with these albums was that their density wasn’t what made them exciting. The hyperactive nature of the music as a whole tended to detract from the truly exciting moments, most notably when Gillis mixed together the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy” and Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.”

That’s why I was initially excited by “All Day.” For me, it represented a more focused and coherent Gillis. I thought it would turn out to be the equivalent of “Girl Talk’s Greatest Hits.”

Simply put, I had too much faith in Gillis, who simply doesn’t know when he’s on and when he’s not. “All Day” isn’t the best of Girl Talk — it’s just less of Girl Talk. It’s longer than any of his previous albums, but that’s only because the tracks don’t change as quickly as they used to; it contains roughly the same amount of samples as the earlier works did.

Granted, there are still some remarkable moments buried in “All Day.” The opening minute or so of “Triple Double” contains one of the most energizing mashups in Girl Talk’s catalog- who knew Ludacris would mesh so well with French rock band Phoenix? Even more surprising is the astonishingly groovy mix of Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky” with the dirty rhymes of Southern rapper Juicy J.

However, I’m convinced that Gillis can’t distinguish these moments from those when he simply finds two songs that kind of have the same beat, but lack any true drive or power when put together. Sadly, there are far too many examples of the latter on this album.

Crazed electronic music artist Aphex Twin teaming up with Lady Gaga seems like a match made in heaven, but the resulting mix of Aphex’s “Windowlicker” and Gaga’s “Bad Romance” is so unexciting that it seems Gillis just threw the two songs together for shock value. Even worse are the frequent Daft Punk samples; we know the Parisian duo is responsible for some of the greatest beats of this millennium, so why does Gillis have to muddle them up with subpar rap acapellas?

The Daft Punk samples reveal a larger problem; Gillis is running out of ideas. I already mentioned how the Aphex Twin sample falls flat; maybe it’s because he already used Aphex’s “Girl/Boy Song” on 2008’s “Feed the Animals.”

Indeed, most of “All Day” is composed of samples from artists that Gillis has already used; Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails crop up, among others. One would think that a mashup DJ would have a greater repertoire. But if the highly inconsistent nature of “All Day” says anything about Gillis, it’s that he’s more of a random mashup generator than a pop music savant. He doesn’t know when he hits the nail on the head and when his audience would rather drive nails through their head.

For this reason, the listenability of Girl Talk albums increases with the number of songs Gillis samples; if he samples over 400 tracks, there’s simply more of a chance that he’ll come across a few mind-melting combinations.

That said, I’m sure Gillis has a few more entertaining mixes left in him. He can’t sustain the mature, drawn-out aura of “All Day” for too long; he’ll definitely get bored after a while and return to his typical off the wall style.