CD review of Girl Talk, "Feed the Animals"

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Girl Talk

— "Feed the Animals"

Think of Girl Talk's "Feed the Animals" as the most economical way to catch up on Top 40 rap from the past five years.

Also, think of it as a celebration and reinvention of that music, crafted with the shameless joy that Philadelphia laptop DJ Gregg Gillis has used - apparently too sparingly - on his previous three records.

Maintaining the album-style structure of his much-loved 2006 release, "Night Ripper," on "Feed the Animals" Gillis has completely embraced all aspects of pop music. Cramming more than 300 samples into just less than an hour, Gillis beefs up the most persistent hits from Lil Wayne, Ludacris, Unk, Jay-Z, Missy Elliott and Yung Joc with classic pop samples, including great moments with bits from The Band, The Cure and Journey. Somewhere in the process, he ends up with something new.

There are plenty of dance-your-clothes-off moments here, and there is enough source material to set something off in any listener, no matter their affinity for crunk rap. On an unrelated note, Gillis is known for dancing his clothes off during his shows.

My favorite of the pop culture nostalgia moments is this: A little more than 20 minutes into the mix, Gillis brings in the piano line from Yael Naim's "New Soul," which is best known for its role in a 2008 Apple commercial. At the same time, he brings in Eminem's "Shake That," a vulgar party anthem that was an afterthought to "Curtain Call: The Hits." Most people never heard the song. Only a few of the people who did hear it thought it was any good. About two of them thought it was great. The way Gillis pairs these samples, so they hit their strides at just the same time, makes them better than they were before.

"Feed the Animals" is full of moments like that, where pop music is what it's supposed to be: superficial, simple and fun.

The album is available for pay-as-you-want download on the Illegal Art Web site. Girl Talk plays July 11 at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, and July 12 at the Belly Up in Aspen.

Rating: ''''

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