Recently, I’ve received two new albums that are clearly inspired by the success of Girl Talk: Torn Up by E-603 and Brain Salad Surgery by DJ Quickie Mart. Both merge hip-hop and a constantly shifting bed of pop and rock hits; E-603’s pop/rock samples skews toward the alternative rock era and later, and Quickie Mart distinguishes himself by executing his mash-ups better.
Girl Talk’s success has to drive DJs crazy because he has no turntable skills, does it all on computer, and writes baby beats. As both of these albums show, though, Girl Talk’s success isn’t based on skills. The exuberant energy of his mixes separates him, as does the irreverent wit. More importantly, he approaches what he does not as a DJ but as a pop music fan who’s more interested in the byproduct – musical and otherwise – of his juxtapositions of unlikely songs than he is in the art of the mash-up.
Quickie Mart’s mix works as a hyperactive club mix, but it doesn’t have the same impact as Girl Talk, partially because Girl Talk came first, and because what he – Gregg Gillis – is doing isn’t hip-hop or dance music at it’s core. He’s making a new kind of pop, and right now, he makes that better than those who follow him.