Mashup Breakdown produces a simple visual analysis of the new album by Girl Talk, highlighting the title and artist behind every track he samples.
Mashup Breakdown produces a simple visualization of the new album by Girl Talk, All Day, highlighting the title and artist behind every song sampled over the course of a given track. Mousing over the upcoming samples makes a kind of game of listening, which, if you think about it, is precisely the point of Girl Talk.
The site, which allows you to stream the entire album, has me thinking there's an argument that (for better or worse) Girl Talk is the voice of the Millennial generation. Where the Boomers waited with bated breath for every new melodic utterance of Dylan and Lennon, and where Generation X watched with unblinking eyes the every moves of icons like Jackson, Madonna, and Cobain, Millennials eschew individual voices for collective ones.
I'm reminded of Nitsu Abebe's "Why We Fight: A Brief History of Knowingness and Irony," which explores the evolution of the self-conscious (or self-mocking) irony behind the artifacts of post-Cobain 1990s pop. Amusingly, the lyrics "I'm a loser" and "I'm a creep" each make appearances in Girl Talk samples. It's unclear whether these mash-ups constitute rejoinders to the bleakness of those ironic statements, or whether they represent an effort at emotional honesty in the midst of the party.
The potent hooks and beats suggest the album is still mostly a celebration of pop—all of it, all at once—even when Girl Talk samples some of corporate music's most ardent critics (Fugazi, whose "Waiting Room" bassline guides a portion of a track, comes to mind). It might speak to interconnectedness or our deficient attention spans or our obsession with consuming volumes information, instantly. And it might be that the mash-up artist whole is far less great than the sum of his playlist parts—but it's still fun to play the game.