Will there be a DJ?

To many, the occupation of a “DJ” may seem pointless, especially in such a high-tech time. Why can’t computers just run the music at club? Half the time it seems like no one even pays attention to the guy with the headphones on. Well, lately I have come to realize that the physical role of a DJ is a lot more crucial than one may think. Consider driving in your car, flipping through the radio, and tuning in to one of those “club mixes” that blast at the wee hours of the night. In my opinion, they never get me pumped up to dance and are just plain annoying. Then why in a club, when we hear mixed tracks, is the atmosphere so much more exhilarating? It is due to the role of the DJ.


A good DJ will induce liveliness among a crowd and keep them wanting more. They have the ability to add on-the-spot sound effects, such as pitch changes and sound bites, which surprise the crowd. They will juxtapose a popular song after a lesser-known song to excite the club-goers, just when they are appearing to feel tired. So until a computer has the ability to energize a crowd, let us keep the DJ around.

Famous “DJ AM” performing live:
(note how the crowd screams when DJ AM transitions to the familiar tune of “under pressure” at 0:45)


There’s no I in “mash-up”

More so than ever, we are seeing an increase in rappers, musicians, and bands pulling their individual talents together and collaborating on CDs. These newly created songs offer a fresh kind of sound that is one of a kind.

However, sometimes even when two catchy songs are combined, the results are not so catchy and creative. For example, on the 2007 album, “The Lost Album: Blends, Mash-Ups & Remixes,” Fall Out Boy and Kanye blend their mainstream songs into 15 new ones. You would think that when one of the best selling pop-punk bands, Fall Out Boy, and Kanye West, who has a Wikipedia page devoted to the number of awards he’s won (enough said), make a musical collaboration, the result would be impressive. But, in my opinion, these two artists made just an “okay” set of remixes. The songs are not very authentic; they simply just go back and forth between FOB and Kanye verses. The final track on the album, though, stands out because it includes Jay-Z, T.I., the Gym Class Heroes, and Lupe Fiasco. My point being: two successful artists can make a decent team, but for a really good remix, it is safe to say that the more talent, the better.

Listen to the full mixtape tracks here


Girl Talk is playing at my house

Four years ago, my friend recommended that I listen to the aritst, “Girl Talk.” With a name like that, I automatically assumed some pop-punk girl band, but I could not have been more off. Girl Talk refers to DJ Gregg Gillis, who is one of the most well-known mash-up artists and my personal favorite. He has released four CD’s of dozens of songs involving a multitude of mashups; everything from the chorus of Avril Lavigne hits, to the rhythm of Rod Stewart beats, to the raps of Busta Rhymes.

Girl Talk's cover art for his 2008 album, "Feed the Album"

Last Friday, November 21, Girl Talk performed at Harvard University. According to the Harvard Crimson, the show unfortunately had to end abruptly when the crowd started getting out of control and pushing forward to the stage. Girl Talk is known for performing up close and personal with his audience– often standing on the floor with them– but this event seemed to push those limits. The concert organizers felt compelled to put the show to a stop, while, “the DJ apologized and said that if it were up to him, he would continue playing and asked if there was ‘a house somewhere [he] could go, right now’.” Although Girl Talk’s concert died early, his apparent devotion to his fans stayed alive.

Girl Talk’s entire 2007 Chicago concert: