A lot of the color photos I’ve seen from before the 1950s strike me as stiff, over-worked, or so experimental as to be a “Hello, World.” They’re cool from a technical standpoint, but they often don’t tell you any more about the subject than a well-produced monochrome image would.
Given the costliness of the film and the complexity of the process, it’s easy to understand why early color photographers had to be choosy about picking the subjects and conditions that their camera could capture well (rather than, as is ideally the case, working the other way around).
But, sometimes, an old color photo brings a distant image to life and produces something kind of special. The best ones make their subjects and their surroundings seem far more real and intimate.
For the rest of the day, and possibly through the weekend—and even until as late as Tuesday the 31st—my new favorite FTA track is, “Don’t Stop.”1
This is because the greatest moment in the history of mashups—possibly in the history of Western music—occurs at the 02:07 mark. When, for absolutely no good reason, Phil Lynott’s plaintive, “BREAK out!" signals that the song is about to explode into the heretofore unknown perfection of laying "Crank Dat (Soulja Boy)" over Thin Lizzy’s "Jailbreak.”2
It’s okay if you want to climax a little.
Okay. Wait. I changed my mind.
Because it turns out that the even greater greatest moment in the history of mashups—possibly in the history of Western music—actually arrives at 01:29 of the next track (“Play Your Part (Pt. 2)”) as George Harrison’s “What is Life" has hot, angry, makeup sex with both Huey’s "Pop, Lock & Drop It" and Dude ‘n Nem’s “Do That There.”
It’s okay if you want to climax a little again.
So, anyway. Thank you. Thank you very much. With certainty, I can now declare that “Play Your Part (Pt. 2)” will now and for forever be my new all-time favorite song on that one really awesome Girl Talk record.
You’re now free to return to your homes. Where you will join me in having “Jailbreak” in your head for the rest of the day.
Here. Let me help:
And, no, of course I had zero idea what any of these awful rappy songs by troll-like men in baseball caps were. That’s why, like me, you totally need the list of sampled tracks. ↩
“And yet in this age of the sound bite, the twenty-four-hour news cycle, multitasking and new media, the books that commercial publishers seem to want to publish…are for the most part the intellectual equivalent of a meal at Burger King or Taco Bell.”—David Rieff, whose insight I’d like to have printed on little cards as a succinct response to idle inquiries about why my book “isn’t done yet.” Because, how ever this godforsaken thing turns out, I can promise you it won’t come with fucking french fries.
“When all you have is a hammer every problem is apparently right outside my bedroom window all morning oh hey you have a radial saw too”—Matt, who, at least to my tastes, is quickly becoming one of the masters of the medium.
“Even though you can’t see me, I’ll always be watching you…I can’t be your horse to ride, but you two be good friends.”—Kamikaze Pilot, writing to his kids on the night before he flew a plane full of explosives into an enemy ship. And, which definitely didn’t make me cry just now.