Arguing the Web (1): Mash-Up A/V

Internet meme circa 2008: Bob Fosse choreography set to Unk’s “Walk it Out.” (above)

Nick Sylvester on Girl Talk for Riff Market:

If Girl Talk has done anything, his dead-end project is a reminder of how fiercely dominant Western pop music has become. This is a capitulation, an audio essay even, of the last 25 years of American pop music: loop-based, interchangeable parts that, turns out, are more similar than maybe we’d like to admit. The “isn’t it funny how ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ sounds like that Boston song” moment is taken to its darkest, veil-lifted extreme. That we’re back in the Tin Pan Alley, and all pop music might actually be the same after all. That the difference is truly manufactured, that the concerns of each song are not interesting. Taking cues from the Grand Wizard Theodor: pop music is not art, but sound design.

Therein lies the insidiousness. Adorno pulled no punches. But Girl Talk poses as a pop optimist. He loves pop music — all pop music. It’s all so unique. It’s all just so great to him. Implicit in his project is that: It’s all so similar to him too. That it all sounds the same in the end. That listening to a bunch of songs we used to care about in his refracted, rejiggered form is, at its heart, the same exact thing, compositionally and otherwise, as listening to a brand new song by a brand new musician. Why bother, right? This project, worse than any covert corporate sponsorship, he calls a celebration of pop music. What he himself doesn’t know is we already had a name for it: la danse macabre.

(Read it all here)