Boy silence

Last week, everybody’s favorite guy who stands behind a laptop, Gregg Gillis of Girl Talk, announced his North American tour dates and, as I’m sure many of you know, will be bringing the most schizophrenic party in the world to our very own Canopy Club. Though we’ll have to wait until November 5 to get sweaty 2.0 and maybe receive complementary tacos, the recent digital release of Girl Talk’s sophomore effort will help keep us occupied until then.
What’s so great about Gillis’ work isn’t the hours of painstaking research and editing that goes into each party jam Frankenstein that appears on his records, but that the product of these hours is something so immediately understood and embraced by listeners.
Not to take props away from Gillis, but his success is merely a reflection of today’s media climate. Shuffle settings and ring tones have reduced songs to modern political speeches reduced to the sound bite. We crave variety, create suicidal mixes of Fanta and Diet Coke at fast food counters and eat a two-sided snack that is one-half cracker and one-half pretzel. It’s really a shock that we haven’t been listening to at least four songs at once for years. But if one thinks about it, maybe we have been all along.
This summer I’ve been washing windows and, as I move up and down ladders each day, a constant soundtrack plays in my head. It generally starts with whatever song was playing on the radio that my washing partner controls on the way to job sites … so either “Pork and Beans” by Weezer or some awesomely bad nu-metal playing on Q101 Chicago. The Weezer hit has a catchy verse bass-line characterized by a slide up the neck. That slide meshes as the day goes on into the distorted guitar slide that opens “I’m the Man Who Loves You,” but before the jerky guitar solo ends and Tweedy’s voice comes into the mix, the riffing turns pristine and the beat leads me into the Strokes’ “You Only Live Once.”
On and on it goes, the musical stream of consciousness that runs through our media drenched society like a James Joyce narrative. Employing familiar pop songs and society’s tendency to bore easy, Girl Talk is great to listen to but only because we’ve been listening to it for years.

Leave a Reply