Feed The Animals is the Girl Talk’s fourth album and follow-up to 2006s Night Ripper, keeping in line with the 2-year cycle for Girl Talk releases.
Girl Talk's back-catalogue prior to Feed The Animals could be summarized as follows: 'Secret Diary' (2002) and 'Unstoppable' (2004) are recorded music’s few documented examples of interpretive ADD, while Night Ripper is a bit of a half-and-half album – a lot of the tracks seemed to follow the format of one half composed of two mostly discernable tracks, switching to two different tracks mid-song. However, 'Feed The Animals' (FTA) is mostly a seamless masterpiece, combining the best of the three prior releases – enough scatty/schizoid, but not too much to make it uncomfortable or unlistenable (see: "Keeping The Beat" or "Step To It" from Unstoppable), while not falling into the trap of being too obviously disparate at each half of each track (as is the case for Nightripper's "Smash Your Head" and "Overtime", for example – don’t get me wrong, both great tracks).
Two-years hard work can be graphically illustrated by the ever-growing wiki covering all of the original art that feeds 'Feed The Animals'. Too many to count, or not, but there is a lot. On of the most endearing qualities of Girl Talk's choices of samples is that they are mostly from mainstream contemporary hip-hop and alternative/rock, mashed-up to please even the most discerning Jerk who wouldn’t listen openly to too much of the originals, while also allowing said Jerk to maintain some semblance of knowledge of current musical trends (or at least that of the previous 2 years). A lot of the samples feature only for a flash, but make sense in the context of the track, and indeed the album, which according to Girl Talk himself (see below), is supposed to be listened to as a complete piece.
Following from Radiohead's lead (I guess) is the deal with this album that you can pay as much as you want. To (again) quote the artist:
My fourth full-length album, Feed The Animals, is out now! You can download the digital version (320 Kpbs [sic]) for whatever price… If you pay over $5, you get an added bonus of one big mp3 file with all of the tracks connected. If you pay over $10, then you are pre-ordering a physical copy of the CD, which will be out later … the album is intended to be listened as one continuous track.
This reviewer was generous enough to fork over $4.99 AUD, which "unfortunately" ruled me out of the FLAC (waste of time) option available at that price point, as well as missing out on the connected/uninterrupted/gapless track. FLAC is not much use personally, and the album can obviously be listened to uninterrupted at pleasure, so $4.99 was thought to be fair. This reviewer has paid much, much more for much, much worse albums, and would likely fork over more perhaps if a trial system had been in place, however as pointed out on Pitchfork, you can actually download prior to processing payment, so maybe I could have…
While the FTA is separated into discrete tracks (on the cheap version of the record), the "connected" track feeling of the album definitely lends itself to not being especially easy to pick standout tracks. "Play Your Part (Pt. 1)" (track 1) is a great lead-in to the 53.3 minutes of madness of FTA, with UGK & OutKast, Spencer Davis Group, Roy Orbison and The Unicorns all appearing in the first 0:01, and melds seamlessly into "Shut The Club Down" (track 2). "Heres The Thing" (track 12) illustrates all of what is wrong and all of what is right with this album. It starts out uninteresting with a bit of Chicago and Quad City DJs, and then descends into an awful ? and the Mysterians sample of "96 Tears" (which is actually alright in of itself as a track) for about 30 seconds, followed by a inoffensive bit of Kelly Clarkson, interspliced with an excellent punch in the face Nine Inch Nails sample, then drifting into Blur "Song 2" (among many, including freakin' Rogue Traders – I thought they were just a Neighbors vehicle confined to this part of the world), finishing with some Three Six Mafia and a tiny flash of The Prodigy’s "Firestarter" (which interestingly enough is a sample of another track itself) used delicately and well, certainly in this reviewers opinion the finest piece of sampling in the album.
Thus it is this reviewer’s opinion that this will surely satiate any Girl Talk fans hunger for new material from the artist, as well as being a good entry point to his work for the uninitiated. 2010 cannot come soon enough.
Overall FTA gets an internal mark of 8/10. Standout tracks are "Play Your Part (Pt. 1)", "Shut The Club Down", "Give Me A Beat" and "Set It Off", the latter for its fine use of Rhianna, Radiohead, Ice Cube, and Fine Young Cannibals (but drops marks for its use of "Come On Eileen"). There is also an obligatory Girl Talk Nirvana reference in "In Step" that would be remiss to not include in this list. In all cases, FTA is recommended uninterrupted listening at least once.
- Play Your Part (Pt. 1)
- Shut The Club Down
- Give Me A Beat
- Play Your Part (Pt. 1)
- Shut the Club Down
- Still Here
- What Its All About
- Set If Off
- No Pause
- Like This
- Give Me a Beat
- Hands in the Air
- In Step
- Let Me See You
- Heres the Thing
- Dont Stop
- Play Your Part (Pt. 2)