Girl Talk’s Public Domain Pillow Fight

Girl Talk wants to be the undisputed queen of the mash up scene. A swirling miasma of musical oneupsmanship spawned from roots in hiphop sample culture via filesharing and DRM free audio warez, mash-ups stradle classifications like coked-up reverse cowgirls. Pop culture is distilled and mixed together. Unwittingly the artists comment on historical relevance, seperating existing songs’ wheat from chaff. “Generic Southern Rap Song #2801” and “Cardboard Bland Adult Contemporary” are forgotten before they even hit the streets. But there’s something there right? Something interesting when you dissect the innards. As Jay-Z said “You made it a hot line, I made it a hot song.”

 Using a lifted riff here or an accapella verse there, a talenter masher defies an audience who believes the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts. Potentially, it can be cacophonous, funny, surreal, offensive or outright bad. Girl Talk usually rises above the genre’s shortcomings, mixing up clever seques and edits. Personally I’m more a fan of groovier and a touch less hyperactive artists like 2 Many DJs, Hollertronix or DJ Z-Trip, but Girl Talk still has his niche with me. Not an expert on his music, I know a stride when I see it, and when he hits his (which is often) it’s a site to behold. Rarely too clever, smarmy or outright shrill, his music is solid and sometimes sublime. Eventually, the novelty will wear off as samplespotting is only fun once. But after the dust settles there’s still enough meat on Girl Talk’s bones for those who dine on this stuff.

He’s followed the lead of other artists who’ve finally realized people are always going to pirate their music and wondered “why not give them the option to choose their price point”? Establish good will, and add another dimension to the process of consuming: cost evaluation. In all this hoopla around the demise of the recording industry, the rise of peer to peer piracy, and the feasibility of online sales, I never see the idea postulated that an artist could stand to earn more money if he allows his fans to name their price. It may be unlikely, but consider it this way: free music is everywhere, and fans are impulsive. Give them the option to browse your music, and maybe they’ll decide to pay more than you expected. Adults with disposable income, especially those who grew up in the pre-internet era when teenage groupiedom was essentially guaranteed, can be a loyal bunch. We’ve matured, yet are still treated like petulant children by the recording industry, the media, the credit industry, almost all big business. Maybe when an artist decides to treat us as equals and says to us “Hey, we’re all adults here, how about you chip in on the gas?” we’ll drop a twenty instead of a goose egg. And maybe, after having consciously chosen to get in the car with this eccentric stranger offering us his experiences (for free), and having decided the trip was worth some cash, we’ll want to plan another Girl’s night out in the future.

So here’s the album, for whatever you choose to pay. Enjoy.


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