Santigold – Masters of My Make-Believe

After a long four year wait, Santigold (née Santogold) returns with her highly anticipated second album. This long overdue follow up to her self-titled debut album, has a somewhat more adventurous feel to it although it still plays within the realms of her previous breakthrough style. Santigold’s background in punk and R&B shows in this deeper album but exhibits that she is not happy resting on her laurels. Producers include Diplo, Switch, Q-Tip and TV on the radios Dave Sitek in addition to Santigold herself.

Having spent the past few years touring with the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jay-Z, Kanye and her long term collaborator M.I.A. in addition to a change in management and label, it is no wonder that this album was so long in the pipeline. ‘Masters Of My Make-Believe’ was in part recorded in Jamaica, an influence that is omnipresent throughout the whole album. Santigold has said that with this album she wanted to explore her fantasy and imagination in context of her reality. Whereby she wants people to see that it’s about “accepting that your fantasy is actually your reality, and trusting your imagination, and trusting that your imagination is actually a real sense of knowing”. Aside from that riddle, it is clear from the single “Disparate Youth” that she has found her creative path and is completely comfortable with her own sound. Very much a DIY artist, Santigold is a perfect example of what a real ‘POP’ star should be like as opposed to Gaga and Perry who are so obviously mocked in the video for “Big Mouth”. Although this record flows well it is clear that some tracks were more heavily influenced by other genres than electronic and dance such as hip hop and dancehall.

The opening track “GO” which features Karen O is brittle and lairy with the enthusiastic use of kettle drums and rigid synths which contrasts well to Santi’s smooth tones.  It sounds almost like a call to war with lyrics such as “People want my power, and they want more station, stormed my winter palace, but they couldn’t take it!”. “GO” was actually released almost a year ago but was followed by a large gap before she officially came back with “Big Mouth”, which was pursued by the official lead single “Disparate Youth”. “Disparate Youth” is evocative of Santogold and sits a little awkwardly between noisier tracks on the album. However it stands strong and has the potential to become almost as anthemic as her previous lead tracks. Made for the indie clubs, “Disparate Youth” uses new-wave keyboards complemented with short sharp bursts of harsh electric guitar. “Freak like Me” has an almost snake charmer feel to it with its quirky drum pattern and eerie background chanting contrasted with “God From The Machine”— a marching song if ever I heard one, with harks of “Creator”.

“Big Mouth’” was released earlier this year as a free download, accompanied with a fun part cartoon video reminiscent of the artwork for M.I.A’s ‘Arular’ and is a good indicator for how this second album differs from her first as a whole. With its heavy Kuduro influences and an exciting video to boot, this song sees Santigold get away from her band roots for a while. This album will hopefully be well set to take the charts by storm through a force bigger than her fan base. Santigold has done herself proud with this record and will no doubt be selling out a venue near you soon.

Grace Picking