The 10 Best Mash-ups on Girl Talk's "All Day" (Part One)

The 10 Best Mash-ups on Girl Talk’s “All Day” (Part One)

The greatest pop music artifact of 2010 gets Overthought. Part One of Two.

4. “Creep” (Radiohead) vs. “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” (Ol’ Dirty Bastard) [20:35]

It was always easy to make fun of Ol’ Dirty Bastard. He had the most comical name of any of the original Wu Tang Clan. He had the weirdest style out of any of them – impossible to pin down or to ape without being comical. He changed his handle frequently and for no reason, going by Dirt McGirt and Big Baby Jesus at various points. He played up the proletarian aspects of his image: picking up a welfare check in a limousine while MTV filmed him; interrupting Shawn Colvin during the ‘98s Grammies, etc. And he was a crack addict.

But as easy as it is to make fun of him, it’s just as easy to forget that ODB was a real human being. He probably did a lot of what he did because he wasn’t built to handle fame (so few people are). He rapped about the things that other artists rapped about: frustration with politicians, wanting to be a pimp, violence in the ghettos. While his impromptu speech at the Grammies was widely lampooned at the time, it clearly came from something that ODB was passionate about and didn’t know how else to express. Compare it to Kanye West’s interjections – ODB’s are far more vulnerable and sincere.

ODB was like that kid in 5th grade who ate glue. You know the kid: he sat in the back of the class. He said stupid things – not dumb things, like the cool kids who never read the book, but irrelevant things. He didn’t have the class clown’s sense of comic timing and he wasn’t disrespectful of authority. He was at the lowest rung in the ladder. Everyone made fun of him. Even the teachers would turn a blind eye to the abuse.

And the kid loved it. He loved being the center of attention. He loved being able to unite the room in its contempt for him. That’s a mindset that’s alien to most of us, but it’s well documented. People look for a role early on and play to it. It meant the kid always got to say and do what he wanted, that nobody expected much of him, and that he’d never be forced to change.

You all know this kid. Maybe some of you were this kid. He was the creep.

Of course, as this kid gets out of elementary school and into high school, that sort of eccentricity becomes less tolerable. Raging hormones have a lot to do with it. Everyone wants to pair up with the desired sex. The key to doing that, in high school, is status. You either have to be top of the food chain, or find a subculture where you’re first among equals.

What happens to the former glue-eater – the kid who’s the subject of universal contempt? What happens when he’s no longer getting the attention he wants? His obsessions turn inward. They get a little dark.

Beautiful melodic arrangement and Thom Yorke’s passionate vocals help us overlook the inherent darkness of “Creep.” “Creep” is about a social outcast who’s in love with a girl he’s never spoken to. He’s obsessed with her. He wants perfection, which is a pretty insane goal in itself. He wants control over her attitude (“I want you to notice when I’m not around”). If this were written on a sheet of looseleaf and thrust anonymously into the locker of the prettiest girl in school, she would start carrying pepper spray. And with good cause.

A lot of online seduction “experts” heap derision on the concept of the Nice Guy – the loser who pines after a girl but never expresses his feelings. What they miss is that the Nice Guy really isn’t that nice. The pining loser isn’t in love with an actual human; he’s in love with a fantasy. He’s sexually obsessed, but he cloaks that by pretending he has chaster intentions than the other guys. And then when she hooks up with the other guys anyway, he calls them “assholes” and calls her a “slut.”

Girl Talk reminds us of the inherent sexual neediness behind this low self-esteem. Beneath the quavering tones of Thom Yorke’s chorus, he layers O.D.B.’s growling.

But I’m a creep … OH BABY, I LIKE IT RAW
I’m a weirdo … OH BABY, I LIKE IT RAW

This reminds us that the creep in “Creep” isn’t Yeats pining for a lost love. He’s a guy who wants sex, the same as the rest of us.

5. “Hey Ladies” (Beastie Boys) + “LoveGame” (Lady Gaga) + “Lust For Life” (Iggy Pop) (22:40)

Better writers than we have examined the double standard for men and women in pop music. We’ve written about it before. So I won’t give this the depth of analysis I would if I thought I needed to prove something.

Suffice it to say: male artists have more license to be frankly sexual than female artists do. When a man raps about scoring with mad bitches, it’s not even noteworthy unless he’s particularly good at it (the rapping, not the scoring). Whereas when a woman raps about scoring with mad dudes, it’s one of two women – Lil’ Kim or Foxy Brown. Or someone imitating their style. Women are allowed to enjoy sex, especially when Biggie or Tupac or Jay-Z or Lil Wayne or Master P or C-Murder or Freeway or Yung Joc are giving it to them good and hard. But they just shouldn’t broadcast it.

This is part of what makes Lady Gaga so controversial (the hair and the costumes and the videos are the other part). She sings about going after guys. She sings about how much she likes sex. She sings about the parts of a guy’s anatomy that she likes. She doesn’t hide it. In fact, she’s so explicit that she crosses the line from sincerity back into irony again. No one could ever say the line “I want to take a ride on your disco stick” with a straight face.

The Beastie Boys were equally frank in their pursuit. “Hey Ladies” isn’t the most offensive song they ever recorded, but it doesn’t shy away from its appreciation of the female form. Like Lady Gaga, however, the Beastie Boys also approach their subject with irony. They talk about bringing a girl back to their apartment, getting her naked and having sex with her, which is fairly standard. But they talk about “telling her every lie” just to get her there, not winning her over with prowess. They also talk about her “staring at the cracks up there upon the ceiling” – an admission that she’s not exactly convulsing under their masterful touch and that they don’t exactly live in the freshest pad.

Girl Talk synthesizes these two sincere admissions of desire with the one thing they have in common: lust. “Lust for Life,” specifically. Boys and girls want the same thing, after all. It doesn’t hurt that “Lust for Life” has a pounding beat, either. It turns “LoveGame” and “Hey Ladies” from sleazy pop hits into a high-energy anthem for youthful desire.

(Continue on to Part One!)

13 Comments on “The 10 Best Mash-ups on Girl Talk’s “All Day” (Part One)”

  1. JP #

    Skee-Lo, not Cee-Lo, is the man behind “I Wish.”


    • John Perich OTI Staff #

      I got it right the second time but not the first. Damn.


  2. Dave #

    I don’t care how played out the joke is from years of Chappelle’s Show reruns, my vote still goes to the Simon & Garfunkel / Lil Jon part in “This is the Remix”.


  3. JosephFM #

    When did this mashup first come out? Because my college classmates’ undead-Marxist nerdcore group Zombies!! Organize! has been doing a cover of “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” that interpolated elements of “Creep” for years now…wonder if took the idea from them.


    • JosephFM #

      Interestingly, this post (“Amanda Palmer, author of Creep“) comes up as the first in the list of related articles at the bottom of the post. Interesting because my friends, in covering ODB as three college-educated white people (two of them, including lead rapper MF Mars, female and squeaky-voiced) wearing a satirical “zombie” persona, are doing the very same sort of thing discussed in that article.


      • JosephFM #

        Ohhh shit! Now I’m REALLY wondering if that’s where he got the idea.


  4. Timothy J Swann #

    Do all mashups potentially lend themselves to such overthinking?
    See, I love the work of Party Ben, especially Galvanise the Empire. But is it up to the same standard?


    • John Perich OTI Staff #

      Maybe. I don’t follow enough DJs by name to comment on their work, so I can’t answer that broadly. But I’ve listened to a lot of mash-ups and none of them excite the same urge to Overthink as Girl Talk does.

      But Overthinking It’s a community, not a clergy, and I claim no monopoly on truth. If you find something in Galvanise the Empire worth overthinking, post it in the comments! Or shoot me an e-mail (perich at and we can hash it out.


  5. Oddtwang #

    Another mashup artist I’d consider to be overthinkable (and arguably superior to Girl-Talk) would be the Kleptones. They’ve got a fair old range going on – Voodoo Sabotage is fairly straightforward but awesome, as is a lot of “Uptime”, but there are some real gems on “Downtime” – I especially like Untired.


  6. Chris #

    There are two as of yet unmentioned mash-ups that I will be disappointed not to see in the top five. Actually, three of them now that I think about it, with two of them from the same song. I shall wait and see if they actually do show up before I mention them. Until then…

    The General Public/Jay-Z one is top notch, that is for sure.


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