by Mike Greenwood
Since releasing her first album, the self-titled and very successful Santogold in 2008, Santigold has been quite busy. She traveled across the world – opening for the likes of M.I.A. and Jay-Z (who recently signed her to a management deal with Roc Nation) -, underwent a stage name change (reportedly due to a copyright issue), and finally battled through a bout of writer’s block and self doubt while creating Master of My Make-believe. Still, through all the difficulties and triumphs over the past couple of years, her new opus shows the world that pop music does not necessarily have to be sexy or brash to make an impact; just meaningful.
Dancehall combines with reggae; punk elements surface within a drum and bass tune; she isn’t afraid to start a party; especially when the first guest on the list is Karen O. “GO” starts off the album in a big way. The simple driving backbeat, coupled with eerie Halloween-esque synthesizers and a timeless melody make it an instant party starter.
If you listen to Santi’s lyricism though, she sings about everything from a good night out to social and economic problems that every generation is facing around the world. From “GO”, she leads into her first single, “Disparate Youth”, and introduces to the listener her unique musical style, which helped cement her as a powerful woman in music. Through dub beats and jungle rhythms, she attacks world problems with ease. Her lyrics are meaningful, and her delivery matches her music: sporadic in nature, but simple and powerful enough to attract even the most hesitant of listeners.
“I’ve been searching for an angle; for a cause I can’t defend” sings Santigold in “The Riot’s Gone,” which is a perfect example of her musical formula. The emotion in her voice and the depth of her lyrics, combined with a beat that is borderline militant, create a sense of violence in the song; but the underlying positivity and hopefulness always shines through, portraying a feeling of peace.
Master of My Make-believe is a beautiful follow-up to an incredible first release. If you are familiar with her repertoire, then you will know exactly what to expect from this album. If you have never heard a Santigold song, let Master of My Make-believe be an introduction into the world of of this talented artist; but please, for the sake of your own ears, do not let the inquiry stop there.