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CD Review

Girl Talk's monster mash-up

Greg Gillis, known as Girl Talk, has released 'Feed the Animals,' available by download. Greg Gillis, known as Girl Talk, has released "Feed the Animals," available by download. (Christos/detroitartist.org)
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Saul Austerlitz
Globe Correspondent / June 27, 2008

Girl Talk's iTunes playlist must be a thing of beauty. In 2006, the Pittsburgh DJ - government name Gregg Gillis - released "Night Ripper," a compendious jumble of samples past and present that reawakened the slumbering mash-up technique.

"Feed the Animals," Girl Talk's fourth and latest full-length, out now digitally, is no less all-inclusive. It would take this entire review, plus another one just like it, to list all the artists sampled. Trainspotters, and critics, may feel the need to obsessively catalog every sample here -was that Big Country? - but "Feed the Animals" is better appreciated as a single, cohesive experience.

The album is divided into 12 tracks, but there are no breaks or pauses between songs. "Feed the Animals" is a one-stop party-music shop, dynamic enough for the ravers and familiar enough to serve as comfort food for the rockers.

Summarizing an album that shifts gears approximately every 30 seconds is a unique challenge, but "Feed the Animals" is best described as an attempt to build a solid foundation of '70s hard rock, '80s New Romantics pop, and '90s alt-rock, and to layer choice bits of hip-hop atop it.

Some couplings are brilliant: Dropping a chunk of Jay-Z's "Roc Boys" on Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" is particularly inspired. Others, like Pras's "Ghetto Superstar" and Yo La Tengo's "Autumn Sweater" sound about as good together as you might expect.

Too often, though, the sheer familiarity of Girl Talk's building blocks detracts from his particular accomplishment. Various superstars peddle their wares here, even if only briefly, but the album's DNA is both greater and lesser than its constituent elements.

After mashing the Police, Busta Rhymes, Tag Team, Dexy's Midnight Runners, and a cast of thousands together, "Feed the Animals" emerges from the blender as a solid slab of Baltimore-style electro-rap, mindless booty-based lyrics definitely included.

If you only buy one album this year, you might as well buy this one - it seems to have all the others on it.

"Feed the Animals" is available for download under a "pay what you will" plan at illegalart.net. A CD version of the album will be released Sept. 23.

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