The Grey Album

DJ Danger Mouse

Self-published Internet release, 2004

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


The Grey Album is already legendary in terms of Internet lore: a relatively unknown, immensely talented DJ fuses colors of two well-known albums, The Beatles' The White Album and Jay-Zs 2003 farewell album, The Black Album. Legal action ensues. Downloads are made and like it or not, The Grey Album, even if it is essentially illegal, has already changed the landscape of music. DJ Danger Mouse (formally known as Brian Burton) has created a novelty album that is anything but a novelty.

Of course, DJ's have been mixing albums for decades. In 1993, dance-kings The KLF paired up with late country legend Tammy Wynette to record "Justified and Ancient." Many college DJ's fuse so-called 'incompatible' artists together for the sake of novelty. But my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Grey Album created a phenomenon that will likely be replicated in years to come. Fans of copyright laws have reasonable right to fear -- some DJs may create a better listening experience than the original album.

Put the debate aside, and The Grey Album is an excellent generation gap tool. Any classic rock fans who refuse to acknowledge the talents Jay-Z or rap in general will no doubt brave the posturing of Jay-Z to hear snippets of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" in "What More Can I Say." Jay-Z fans who think classic rock is "geezer rock" will discover some of the tightest, most-head-bobbing and flat-out weird beats The Beatles generated when the listener hears the guitar line and "ohh yeah!" shout-outs in "Glass Onion" in the song, "Encore."

Some experiments flounder. "Justify My Thug" and "Interlude" don't seem to go anywhere and are the two songs where The Grey Album sounds less like an album and more like a well-crafted publicity stunt. Still, anyone who tries to make order out of "Revolution 9" deserves some credit.

Time will essentially determine whether The Grey Album will gain in artistic value. If any artist benefits (other than DJ Danger Mouse) from The Grey Album, it would likely be Jay-Z. Despite all of the accolades he has reaped from the hip-hop world, many music critics remain skeptical in ranking him up with the Bruce Springsteen's or Prince's of the world. The fact that Jay-Z's music can sound at home, and even complement The Beatles seminal White Album will hopefully earn Jay-Z some respect from non hip-hop critics. As for The Beatles, The Grey Album shows that despite the fact that it is likely the most over-analyzed album in rock history, more can still be learned from it. And as for DJ Danger Mouse, the road is now officially paved for your first full-length LP of original material following this phenomenon. No pressure…

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2004 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Self-published Internet release, and is used for informational purposes only.