Music Seen! Santogold - Santogold

I first heard of Santogold late last year while reading through a Rolling Stone when they made their annual list was speaking of artists to watch, but I didn’t check her music out. I then randomly saw her video on YouTube, and I thought…well this is different. Some weeks later I read about her again and thought well, let me check her album out. And let me tell you I was not disappointed. She is in my opinion the most exciting artist to emerge on the scene in 2008, though she has previously been writing for the likes of Lilly Allen. You definitely cannot place her in the cookie cutter realm of R&B or pop even though she does pop. In fact in an interview she claimed that stereotyping her as a hiphop/R&B artist was racist. Her music is similar to that of M.I.A’s or Nelly Furtado but she has more than enough talent to stand out from those two. From dance to 80s pop to reggae to Fela Kuti, she draws from a wide variety of influences to create herself debut disc.

Santogold (born Santi White) starts off the self-titled album with “L.E.S Artistes” a tune with handclaps and driving guitar that sounds like almost nothing else out there. The video for the song is also very original and interesting, which was one of the things that encouraged me to find out more her music. The album then immediately dives into “You’ll Find A Way” a song of determination and inspiration which has a driving bass guitar and is a shoulder rocker of a track. “Shove It” is a cool reggae joint featuring Naeem Juwan of Spank Rock. From there it’s on to “Say Aha" one of my favorite cuts on the album. If you don’t get up and dance to this song, then you might have to check if you left your pulse under the pillow because that thumping track and Santi chanting “la-la-la-ley-yo-law-law” is just utterly fun. “Creator” is a track that has been most compared to M.I.A’s music, and though this is certainly true, Santogold sounds a bit more polished and structured than M.I.A’s experimental sound. Things get a bit mellow with “My Superman” a spacey-sounding story of love and turmoil. It sound then picks up again with another favorite “Lights Out” an upbeat rocking track which I’m assuming is about musical creativity and originality which is sorely lacking in this day and age. Santogold definitely demonstrates her song-writing talent on the track. She goes space-agey and the song “Starstruck” but still makes sure to keeps the fun theme going on and doesn’t lose us. Another thing that is she isn’t afraid to do is sing in unconventional ways and make sounds and adlibs which manage to fit in with the songs without sounding crazy. On “Unstoppable” she accents her voice and ends up sounding a bit like Musical Youth. On the cool alt-rock song “I’m A Lady” Santogold speaks of strength in a way that is very inviting and not in your face, not to mention it has hook just made for singing along to(what, don’t look at me like that, you’ll like the song too no matter your gender!). The album then closes out with “Anne” an atmospheric song, and a remix of “You’ll Find A Way” containing a very jungle-vibe.

What can I say, this album has been in heavy rotation since I got it three months ago. I have actually been keen to do this review and I am happy the procrastination has now ended. I really like artists who creatively push musical boundaries and try new things that some will get and some won’t. With her debut album Santogold has created in my opinion one of the best dance-pop albums of all time. Already a classic in my book, and utterly danceable to. I have a keen ear for innovation and I see this album becoming influential in pop and dance. All I have to say is if you like or appreciate 80s pop and dance you will love this album. Best album of 2008.Pick it up!

::KC:: blog rating 5/5


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