Review Summary: Slightly less addictive than cocaine.....Girl Talk
The Mashup genre is usually a hit or miss ordeal. The complex is simple on paper: Take 2 or more songs from completely different artists, throw them in a blender, and hit the purée button. This, as with most cooking, yields mixed results. The majority of Mashups are done by Basement DJs(akin to the “Bedroom Shredder”), distributed amongst the underground, and are usually a mix of two songs that end up, well…..not too much different from the original products. But, like everything, every now and then someone gets it right. Some guy with a laptop and a bit too much free time manages to nail the formula, and grind up enough different songs that it creates something original and captivating. Greg Gillis, under the stage name Girl Talk
takes after the latter. Since 2000 he’s been putting out some of the best music this side of Electronic, and with 2006’s Night Ripper
he shows no signs of slowing down. But what makes Gillis so much better
than his peers? How does one nerdy white guy manage to make Mainstream Rap, Modern Pop, 90’s Alternative, and a sprinkle of Electronic work? Well, it all comes down to what he’s cooking with…
Night Ripper does not succeed because of it’s sampling. It doesn’t succeed because it is catchy. It doesn’t succeed because it appeals to the same kind of people that buy Dem Franchiz Boyz and Mariah Carey CDs, and it definitely
doesn’t succeed because of Gillis’s Thug swagger and Boy band looks. It succeeds because it is inventive, original, and thoroughly addictive. Gillis manages to chop up so many different samples, from all across the board, that the results sound nothing like the original. As a result, Night Ripper
actually sounds like an original work of art. The listener is treated to melodies and rhythms he has never heard before. Every thing is so chopped up and disorganized that is virtually unidentifiable. Sure, you may hear Tiny Dancer
somewhere in that mess of pounding drums and blaring synths, but it has a completely different effect than the original(and it’s not just because it has B.I.G. rapping over it). The listener doesn’t feel like he is listening to a Coldplay and Sum 41 mashup, but rather that he is listening to a Girl Talk song; and it is because of this that Night Ripper
triumphs on not only an intellectual level, but on an emotional level as well.
The arrangement of Night Ripper
is meticulous to say the least. It’s the work of a surgeon, and every note is carefully placed to complement the overall song. The beats are infectious, the melodies superb, and the entire presentation is simply hypnotic. Gillis’s arrangement abilities are head and shoulder above most, as he manages to make even the most oddball ideas work. Common sense says that Paul Wall shouldn’t sound good over Phantom Planet’s California
, but with Gillis it proves to be one of the albums defining moments. Even people who hate most Mainstream Hip Hop(myself included) will enjoy this; as it takes everything that is boring about Nelly and Jay Z and turns it around, while still retaining the catchy dance club vibe. For once, I can feel good about listening to Ludacris!
There aren’t many faults to be found on Night Ripper
, apart from the fact that other drivers think some awkward white kid is listening to 50 Cent. Still, as soon as the Synthesizer kicks on I’m free to crack the windows… Night Ripper
only fails in it’s rather homogenous nature. Whereas it is radically different than the majority of Mashup, it is still rather similar throughout. Because of this, the best songs are the one that incorporate awkward outside influences, and pull them off. The first seven songs are some of the best on the album, and every one of them has at least one moment where you can’t help but smile and throw up a gang sign. Admit it, you’ve always wanted to hear the Ying Yang Twin’s say “Wait’ll see my dick” over Bittersweet Symphony.
is a testament to the power of originality. Greg Gillis manages to take what are, at often times, bad songs; and combine them into works of art. It slacks in a few moments, and it’s hard to distinguish some songs from others, but the pros vastly outweigh the cons on what is one of Electronic’s best releases. This won’t leave your CD player for a long time, and next time your in da club, you’ll actually know some of the songs!