Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Girl Talk: Night Ripper [Illegal Art, 2006]
Released only somewhat clandestinely in the summer of 2006, the best mash-up album since 2002's The Best Bootlegs in the World Ever suggests why there've been so few competitors. Pittsburgh-based Gregg Gillis ups the ante. Like DJ Shadow or the Avalanches, only with obvious samples rather than obscure ones, he doesn't just make two songs smell like pirate booty--he reduces the been-there-done-that factor by creating new music from many of them. But by so doing, he embraces the novelty factor. Because his samples have their own inescapable identities, the songs never coalesce into something deeper, as with Shadow, or even cheesier, as with the Avalanches. Nor is there much compounding of groove--the effects are too sequential. So we have here an entertaining novelty album set on proving that filthy rappers are bloody good fun. This idea is more useful than asserting that pop froth is as deep as Nirvana. But it's not exactly a profound truth--not even always a liberating one. A-