Full Details of the BIBJ Millennial Playlist Hullabaloo are available here. Today's entry is #34: Encore by Danger Mouse (2004)
Is The Grey Album the best album of the decade? Most people would say, “No, of course not. What kind of a stupid question is that?” These people would likely be correct (although they don’t need to be quite so hostile! It’s a valid question, hypothetical assholes I just invented.) While it’s probably not the best, it probably encapsulates the decade better than any other album released in the last 10 years.
Before the end of 2009, there will no doubt be a plethora of articles attempting to summarize music of the decade from a technological standpoint. This is the decade of the mp3, file-sharing, and online music sales. Yet for the most part, technology really hasn’t changed the actual musical output that much. Instruments and production stays relatively consistent. Even electronica artists using the latest synths or sequencers likely could have come close to producing identical sounds 10 years ago (though the technology to do so would have been far more expensive at the time.) That said, the art of the mash-up could have only flourished in this decade, where affordable software and a capella tracks allow one to cut and paste to their hearts content with relative ease. And as the music is created in a manner that is fully “of” the decade, the manner of distribution has taken every advantage of the file-sharing/torrent evolution of online music, pissing off music execs of every level, who never gave a shit about mash-ups or mixtapes until people actually took interesting them.
Girl Talk has dominated the later half of the decade, with his obvious appeal stemming from his unlimited library and the quick-changing joy of hopping from one artist to another before you can catch your breath. The Grey Album however is the polar opposite of a Girl Talk effort. By limiting himself to using music from The White Album, and ONLY The White Album, it’s a masterful exercise in discipline that shows skill beyond what most DJs are able to showcase. Danger Mouse works through the album with surgical focus, lifting out a kick drum here or vocal affect there.
And oh by the way, it can’t be ignored that Danger Mouse swung for the fences by choosing a music bed solely provided by the greatest fucking band that ever existed. He could have easily impressed the masses by choosing The Joshua Tree or The Bends, but instead he goes all in, risking the disgrace of being the asshole who slaughtered The Beatles if it didn’t work. Instead he infuses energy into the “Glass Onion”/”Savoy Truffle” hybrid. It proves that The White Album holds up better than any album of the time, and simultaneously creates the best album by the biggest rapper of the decade. Not to mention the fact that he royally pissed off EMI, which is pretty great.
Danger Mouse - Encore (m4a)