Girl Talk: Mashups that are actually good

I searched, as always, to find another thread on this dood from Pittsburg PA who calls himself Girl Talk. No one seems to have made a thread, though I am sure someone will find it after I post this…

Most mashups suck. Especially anything linked to from Boing Boing, which seems to be a site that doesn’t listen to its mashup recommendations before recommending them…

Girl Talk does some pretty incredible stuff. I gotta say, the guy has really defined the mashup genre.

He favors rappers for his words, which is understandable, but his underlying sound tapestry mixes so many different types of music from the past 20 years it’s unreal. Wikipedia has listings of every song he uses in each album, and that’s very important, because you WILL hear something you remember, but can’t place.

Check out this listing from Minute By Minute on Night Ripper.

0:00 (13:05) SWV - “Right Here (Human Nature Mix)” (which samples Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature”)
0:10 (13:15) Ying Yang Twins featuring Mike Jones and Mr. Collipark - “Badd”
0:28 (13:33) LL Cool J - “Around the Way Girl” (which samples Mary Jane Girls’ “All Night Long”)
0:44 (13:49) Michael McDonald - “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)”
0:44 (13:49) Warren G and Nate Dogg - “Regulate”
0:56 (14:01) Missy Elliott - “On & On”
1:04 (14:09) Neutral Milk Hotel - “Holland, 1945”
1:14 (14:19) Jefferson Airplane - “White Rabbit”
1:14 (14:19) Juelz Santana - “There It Go (The Whistle Song)”
1:32 (14:37) Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz - “Déjà Vu (Uptown Baby)” (which samples Steely Dan’s “Black Cow”)
2:09 (15:16) Sophie B. Hawkins - “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover”
2:18 (15:23) Panjabi MC - “Mundian To Bach Ke”
2:27 (15:32) The Game featuring 50 Cent - “Hate It or Love It” (which samples The Trammps’ “Rubber Band”)
2:45 (15:50) Better Than Ezra - “Good”
2:55 (16:00) Pixies - “Gigantic”

*You need to fix the end parenthesis on the link.

I listened to a few songs on YouTube, since I had no idea what a “mashup” was. It’s not my thing. I just…I don’t know man. I can’t get behind a dude or dudes taking samples from a bunch of (relatively) popular songs, mixing them up, and calling it a new song. I mean, it is, but it isn’t.

What do you like about it? Honest question. Not just this guy, but the genre in general?

When I listen to stuff like this, I’m not moved like I am with other music, because I spend most of my time thinking about the songs that make up the song. I’m not listening to Minute by Minute by Girl Talk. I’m listening to Cool J and Missy Elliot and Jefferson Airplane. For example, when P. Diddy had all his hits ripping off songs by the Police, I wasn’t thinking, “Wow. P. Diddy is really talented.” I was thinking “Wow. P. Diddy just ruined the shit out of these Police songs.”

“I wish I had Jessie’s girl/But I’d rather get some head/I want Jessie’s girl/But I’d rather get some head/Where can I find a woman like that?”

On a slightly less juvenile note, I can see what you’re saying but the way these samples flow in and out of eachother seamlessly really is amazing. Suddenly all these disparate songs are put in an entirely new context and they all fit in beautifully.

I would have liked it better if he’d stuck to a couple of samples per song. As it is, the way one song flows into another reminds me of one of those awful medleys old people listen to where “Rock Around the Clock” turns into “Let’s Go to the Hop” and so on.

For a really good mashup you should check out The Grey Album.

E-603’s Torn Up is the only thing I can think of that’s close to Girl Talk’s Night Ripper and Feed the Animals (Girl Talk’s earlier stuff was more glitchy).

MOP’s Ante Up over Vanessa Carlton’s A Thousand Miles is ridiculous.

The Internet Hood does some decent, more traditional mash-ups.

I went through a phase where I was listening to a lot of mash-ups a few years ago and the only ones I came across with any staying power were by Mark Vidler, a.k.a. Go Home Productions. I think it’s largely because he bucks the trend by keeping his mixes limited to two or three songs whereas a lot of mash-up artists tend to throw as much into the mix as they can and hope it works out okay.

Are The Avalances considered a mash-up band? ‘Since I Left You’ is absolutely brilliant and maybe the only mash-up album that I really love. I tried Girl Talk but they didn’t do it for me.

The Avalances supposedly have a new album coming out this year but then, I think I started hearing that last year and it never came to be so…

I think the dividing line between mashups and simple DJ work basically depends on how much of the music is derived from external sources. Thus, the Grey Album, wonderful though it is, is basically just a remix because it’s Jay-Z, unedited, over Beatles.

Mashups, for me, mean lots of random stuff from lots of random places put together in ways you’d never have expected before. The Grey album puts the Beatles through a blender and sprinkles Jay-Z on top. Girl talk chops songs up like onions and mixes them into a rough salad with all sorts of odd ingredients. Like Snickers bars and thumb tacks.

The reason I like Girl Talk, aside from the hysterical mixes (“wait until you see my dick” whispered by a hyphy rapper while strings from Bitter Sweet Symphony play in the background) is that he uses music from all throughout my life, which I recognize and go “shit, he used that!?”

As I said, 90% of mashups are shit. I think Girl Talk is unique in his creativity and seamlessness of his work. Most mashup artists don’t understand what it means to be in time and on tune. But Girl Talk does.

I’d say they’re closer to Coldcut, Kid Koala, or even older DJ Shadow. There’s more manipulation, I’d say.

At some point you just end up back at the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, I guess.

Alright. I can see and appreciate that. My opinion is revised.

I spend a lot of time listening to and searching out new music, and I tend to dork out about it more than is reasonable. If I hear a song or voice I’m familiar with, I start categorizing it and mentally regurgitating random music trivia or related info. I hear Robert Plant’s voice on one of his new solo songs, and then I’m thinking about Led Zeppelin, then Jimmy Page, then The Yardbirds, then how For Your Love was the first song I ever sang at karaoke, then how Jeff Beck was lead guitar, then how Eric Clapton was lead guitar before him, then how Clapton’s Tears In Heaven was the theme song thing for my high school prom, then how I lost my virginity to Ms. Promdate in the passenger seat of my grandmother’s Plymouth Horizon, and how totally classy and top-notch that experience was. I can’t help myself. So, when I listen to songs that sample other songs (especially in this case, since there are a billion of them) it’s like information overload and I can’t cope.

I had the exact same reaction when someone first played Girl Talk for me. Then I saw him live and it was pretty amazing, I’ve never seen that sort of energy outside of a punk show. When you hear ODB rapping to a Metallica song that slowly starts turning into Cheap Trick, you can start to see what people see in this.

I don’t sit at home or my desk listening to it, I’d say 95% of what’s good about it is the live show, but I’m definitely going to see him again. It was honestly insane. I just looked up some clips of live shows online but they don’t really do it justice.

And yeah, fwiw I’m not a fan of the genre in general. But basically he’s DJ with super dense, super clever mixes, and with a really good ear for pop music that appeals to large crowds. Nothing wrong with that.

Isn’t Girl Talk a rather effeminate name for a male DJ?

Well, they were clearing samples as of July. Probably will be out in the first half of next year.

Anyways, didn’t we all hear the Girl Talk album last year, though? This thread seems a bit belated.

Judging by some of the artists mentioned here, I think some of you may really, really, dig Pretty Lights.

Finally Moving Remix from Filling Up The City Skies Disc 2 blasted with the headphones in is simply awesome.

His recorded stuff is good (and free at that link), but he is phenomenal live.

Yeah, anyone who doesn’t get the point of mashups should just listen to 99 Problems from The Grey Album. If you still don’t get it after that, you probably never will.

Girl Talk does rock… because, nobody else i know of can combine Fleetwood Mac, 2 Live Crew and The Cranberries (Let Me See You from Feed the Animals) for a smorgasboard of pop love that, imo, doesn’t feel cheap.

I think 99 Problems just goes really well with a rock backing. My personal favorite is Voodoo Problems, which lays it over Voodoo Chile.

One thing a mashup or remix can do is expose something interesting about an artist you might have dismissed by pulling them within an artist you know/respect. For example, mashups can do good things for pop artists by pulling them out of their pop production, and rappers for people who just reflexively hate rap. It’s not a sure thing but if people go into it with an open mind they can discover things they might never have otherwise run into. For example, I really didn’t notice Christina Aguilera had a decent voice until I head A Stroke of Genie-us, years ago.

No love for John Oswald?

IMHO Girl Talk is far too close to the originals in that he tends to use very long samples and samples liberally from fairly well known choruses. It feels too much like chopped up bits of other songs that I’ve already heard before, rather than a new song that just happens to use bits from other songs.