Saturday, September 20, 2008

Music at the Speed of ADD

Arch Magazine's Billy Graves has written an insightful piece on the meaning of Girl Talk and the creation (aggregation? manifestation?) of an identity for Generation Y's musical tastes. He writes of Girl Talk's Feed the Animals as the "culmination" of four distinct and heretofore separate musical narratives; his case here is solid, and his emphasis on Girl Talk's use and reflection of musical taste aggregation sites and technologies aptly describes the replacement of turntables by laptops. It's a good read, and it comes with DBMIVFK's Seal of Approval. (Full disclosure: GWS has known Graves since grade school).

Question: isn't Girl Talk just another iteration of hip-hop's global takeover, or is GWS just that white?

Answer: You're both right!

GWS is not convinced that Girl Talk represents either a new type of musician or the sound history will remember from our time. Rather, Girl Talk may just be a new type of DJ---the next, fastest, most-samples-havin', most self-aware, hottest DJ out, and he's certainly perfected the nascent art of the mashup---but is he really transcending the role of the DJ? Can't we find similar depth of cuts in most of DJ Shadow's music?

GWS sees Girl Talk's rise in popular music as akin to Family Guy's rise in mainstream comedy. Both are working with fundamentally the same toolkits as their forebears, but the speed with which both Girl Talk's music and Family Guy's gags are paced and cut indicate that both are speaking to and informed by a world in which people are no longer confronted with too little information but rather overwhelmed by too much. They are media for an ADD generation, rooted deeply in the hey look a penguin!

Sorry, what was I saying? Oh yeah. Girl Talk's a DJ, and a fun one, but he's still a DJ, and that makes him just another part of the evolution of hip hop. Nothing more and certainly nothing less. Thoughts, comments, snide remarks?

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