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Paolo Versus Chris, Point/Counterpoint

Welcome back to the stage of pointing. Forgive us if on this week’s installment of Point/Counterpoint we get a bit…esoteric on everyone? Me (once more into the breach) and Producer-extraordinaire Chris, take on the curious case of the mash-up, notably the case of Girl Talk. Stop me if I lost you. You know, you take two songs, let’s say AC/DC’s Thunderstruck and ABBA’s Dancing Queen, run them through an Atari hotwired to a toaster oven (or some audio editing program, whatever’s clever) and poof! You have one song containing both elements of both songs! Then you give it some like pun-ish title like, “Thunderstruck by the Dancing Queen” or something. Are you lost yet? Me and Chris try to make sense of it all, although I suppose, it’s one of those…if you don’t get it by now, you’re kind of screwed.

Music is cool, I guess.
I like to think that I like music. Like I’m a fan of breathing and oxygen, that’s pretty cool. There is just one thing that I don’t seem to get, which is the mash-up. The whole, let’s take two songs and put ‘em together, something about that never clicked to me, just way too jarring, too cheeky for its own good. When I want to be Hustlin’ with Rick Ross, I’d rather not be Everyday I’m doing the Hustle with Rick Ross AND Van McCoy. And jeez, I knew this guy who said he did “mash-ups”, when really all he would do is take the chorus from some Linkin Park song and the verses from Yellow Submarine from the Beatles.

I do have a soft spot for Gregg Gillis, better known as Girl Talk. The former biomedical engineer and now full time masher of music is probably the only mash-up artist I can respect myself in the morning after a night of listening to. The way I see his work is work, is less of a sometimes forced union of songs, but rather a sonic collage, more of a train of thought than that cheeky idea that would get people laughing at the sheer kitsch of it. And wow, did you hear 2006’s Night Ripper? That album in itself is almost a guaranteed party in a box. Crank dat on your iPod, and almost on cue bored hipsters and art school dropouts start shaking whatever their mamas didn’t give them to The Emotions, Purple Ribbon All-Stars, LCD Soundsystem, AND Wreckx-n-Effect at some random warehouse party. And it works! Perfectly!

Mash-ups are cute.
I mean, I totally get it. You just got your new iMac, you opened up GarageBand for the first time, smoked a little mary jane, and thought, “Dude, how fucked up would that be if I took Biance’s vocals and put it over some Nirvana?” Totally, I get it. That would be sweet. You know what would be even sweeter? How about we throw in some Enya, add a little Aerosmith, and finish it off with a pinch of Dave Matthews Band? Even sweeter! It all kinda reminds of the stuff I would “cook” for my mom when I was a kid. Like that time I made her waffles with syrup, bananas, powdered sugar, and some Nestle’s Quik (true story). It would be great if you were high, but god awful if you’re not. Now, I’m not going to say that I hate Girl Talk (and you can’t make me!), I just don’t care. To bag on Girl Talk is kinda like what Maddox does to kids on his website “I am better than your kids”. It’s just mean.


Comment from Will
Time: August 29, 2008, 2:14 pm

I’d all this a toss-up, but since when was “I am better than your kids” nothing short of pure genius?

Comment from Allison
Time: August 29, 2008, 3:48 pm

Chris –
Thanks you for this article. Next time you’re stoned I know exactly what to whip up for dinner.