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Girl Talk: All Day
Legality, fair use and a high probability of lawsuits: this entire racket has this new artist in the New York Times and other publications for his unauthorised sampling of numerous well-known artists. In 2007, DJ Greg Gillis (otherwise known as Girl Talk) was in a documentary that focused on our copyrighting culture; so his agenda isn’t missing. That being said, does an artist’s morality really come into question when you throw on a new album anyway?
When it comes to maximising sound and creating powerful mash-ups unlike any other digital sampler in the modern age, Girl Talk knows where it’s at. The artist has produced five LPs, including 2008’s Feed the Animals, which arguably gave him his career break as a mainstream artist.
If Feed the Animals provided Gillis with that backbone, All Day is here to only add a few layers of meat to the vertebrae. With more eclectic mash-ups than before, Gillis has become an all-out maximalist in a wide range of genres; his album is like a little glossary of pop history. Moreover, his addition of classic rock and r&b adds a whole new groove to his platform.
With a confusing mash-up of the sunny tune ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ by the loveable Electric Light Orchestra, Wale’s ‘Pretty Girls’ and the funky addition of Beck’s ‘Loser’, Gillis uses ‘Let It Out’ to take you on an energetic, groovy trip that defuses slowly throughout the track. After all six minutes and twenty nine seconds of it, it’s recommended to do exactly what the title says.
Following that, ‘That’s Right’ switches gears to 80s synth-pop, spilling out some cheese that is conjured up with Rihanna’s bad-to-the-bone façade and Beyoncé’s anthem for single ladies. Halfway through the track, a little redemption surfaces through the quick upbeats and grand mixture of simple yet detailed looping that Gillis is known for.
‘Triple Double’ is just one example of his ability to cover decades of noise; showcasing his versatility and appreciation for a wide range of genres. The track will take you by surprise with its use of indie rockers Phoenix, and it will keep you moving till the end. For a mix that attempts to simultaneously sample a little Ludacris, the Cranberries and Rolling Stones (just to list a few), it runs surprisingly smooth with steady lyrics and an underlying jovial tone.
Throw All Day on at a party and your guests will be satisfied. However, when it comes to a listening session, the album seems more like a catch-22. While Gillis’s original concept was for All Day to be listened to in one go, attempting to ingest the entire album at once is anything but enjoyable. After listening to a few tracks in one setting, the album begins to feel more like a small space that is maximised with empty sound.Still, All Day is perky, fresh and tightly produced, providing plenty of funk to go around. Listening track-by-track might be difficult, but it will be pleasantly surprising if you take a chunk at a time as not to miss the transitions and constant vigour.
Just ask Guns ‘n Roses’ Axl Rose or try and listen to any recent Korn album without cringing. Many bands quit (R.E.M., Sonic Youth), others tone down their sound (Metallica) and some keep regurgitating what they’ve been doing for decades (The Rolling Stones).
Kim Thayil’s guitar traditionally wails around on the dissonant side of the spectrum and singer Chris Cornell still deals out high-pitched screeches like a rock version of Celine Dion – but they have audibly matured. And considering that the grunge kids of two decades ago have aged with them, many will appreciate this more grown-up, adult sound.
After 52 minutes, one question remains: now that Soundgarden seems to have arrived at their definitive sound, will they become one of those established bands that don’t evolve anymore? Like fellow Seattle-ites Pearl Jam, or grandfathers of rock Aerosmith, for example. Or will they continue to develop their sound, like Muse or Radiohead?
Dutch producer, Tijs Michiel Verwest – who you’ll know better as Tiësto – has become a household name throughout his career as one of the best trance producers, constantly flirting with the line between artistically good and crowd pleasing. His latest release, A Town Called Paradise, unfortunately, goes miles beyond that line.
The album features an impressive 18 tracks, 15 of which feature vocalists. Some of the best produced albums benefit from a stable, underlying theme, but not to the point where you can’t distinguish songs from each other, as is with the case with A Town Called Paradise.
There’s very little trance to be heard on the album, if any at all. If you were a fan of the In Search of Sunrise series, or any of Tiësto albums, you’re in for disappointment.
The first four tracks of the album, including the title track, are absolutely indistinguishable from any other EDM you would hear on the radio; abrasive synthesizers, meaningless chorus, throw your hands in the air and wait for the drop.
‘Written in Reverse’ is the first track on the album that indulges, using a very short electro-like hook that is over faster than you can realise what happened. The next song, ‘Echoes’, featuring singer Andreas Moe, who you may recognise from Avicii’s ‘Fade Into Darkness’ and utilises more electro influences, but is quite short-lived.
It really doesn’t get much better from there. Actually, saying it “doesn’t get much better” implies it was decent at some point which is a big fat lie. It’s horrendous. You’re constantly listening to cheesy EDM lines followed by awful, noisy drops. There is little musical value, and little to distinguish any of the tracks from each other. Diving into specific songs seems a little redundant, besides maybe ‘Rocky’, which sounds suspiciously similar to Europe’s ‘The Final Countdown’, and ‘Shimmer’, featuring returning singer Christian Burns, who you’ll remember from Tiesto’s ‘In the Dark’ or Armin Van Buuren’s ‘This Light Between Us’.
Disappointing and, quite frankly, tedious, A Town Called Paradise is not just a mindless crowd-pleaser, but an exasperating and often irritating one. If you’re a fan of regurgitated, sub-par music and lyrics, this is the album and artist for you. We want that hour of our lives back.