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Music

Girl Talk Feeds the Hipster Animals [Thurs. 11/13/08]

Posted by Stefan / November 12, 2008

girltalk.jpgGregg Gillis should have been a boring man. He’s from Pittsburgh, he studied engineering, and he did so in Ohio of all places. He evidently spends a lot of time alone on his computer. The phrase “avant-garde” seems to spill out of him with unabashed earnestness. With a fan base consisting primarily of self-conscious undergrads, recovering hipsters, and the kind of people interested in the limits of proprietarianism, it’s a wonder that anyone bothers to dance at his shows (n.b. everyone does). The techie rag Wired, which features articles such as “Parallels 4 Offers Mac Fans Blazing-Fast Windows Virtualization” and “How to Edit Wikipedia”, recently recognized him with an award. I strongly suspect that I will learn about him in my class on "Industrial and Intellectual Property". In other words, shit’s kinda whack, prima facie.

Here’s the thing: he doesn’t suck. Gillis, disguised as the wily and barely legal Girl Talk, shuts the club down with irreverent mash-ups and an unhinged live show. His success, predicated on word of mouth, nostalgia, and recklessness, should surprise no one familiar with the hovering-inches-above-boredom youth of our town. While his skill rests in his ability to transform the ubiquitous into the nuanced, building a temple to popular music as he reimagines it, Gillis curiously insists that he is not attempting to be subversive with his music. Much as the Coen brothers cast hopelessly pedestrian actors such as Nicholas Cage, Brad Pitt, and the George Clooney in their nihilistic movies, Gillis makes use of Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson, and mid-80s Rod Stewart in his persistently relevant songs.

To his critics, his shtick is getting old and if you've heard of it, it's probably no longer worth listening to. Admittedly, it's hard to impute longevity on an artist who so joyously thrives upon his own gimmickry. On the other hand, I'm hard pressed to think of a better spokesman for the schizophrenic moment.

See Girl Talk this Thursday at Metropolis (59 St Catherine; 514-844-3500)

Photo stolen from some website. It would be hella ironic for you to try and sue me.

Discussion

22 Comments

000 / November 13, 2008 at 04:34 am
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"To his critics, his shtick is getting old and if you've heard of it, it's probably no longer worth listening to. "

he's been around for 10 years strong, and it hasn't stopped. bigger and bigger.
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