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I've always firmly believed Girl Talk, aka Greg Gillis, to be a talentless hack, but I'm also optimistic about his potential to get a fairly broad audience thinking about things like fair use and sampling. A piece on Idolator today provides a lethal-looking takedown of the contention that Gillis's work falls under the umbrella of fair use.
Though Mike Barthel, the essay's author, repeatedly reminds us that he's a Girl Talk fan, he offers a critique of Gillis's mashups that touches on a lot of the reasons they irritate me:
But though Girl Talk may transform the songs he samples, he doesn't really do so to make a critical observation about the original. Where 2 Live Crew changed Orbison's lyrics as a way of making fun of the song, it's hard to argue that all or even most of Girl Talk's juxtapositions are commenting on the works involved. If we're being honest, most of them just sound awesome together. That's great, but it's not fair use.