Friday, June 01, 2012

REVIEW: Santigold - Master of My Make-Believe

Santigold - Master of My Make-Believe

It’s been four year since Santigold’s debut album, Santogold, and a lot has changed in the world of alternative pop music. A good amount of this four-year span was spent working on the sound for a follow-up, and it certainly shows in the rich, eclectic instrumentation and attention to detail. With help from producers and guest musicians such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner, TV On the Radio’s David Sitek, Q-Tip, and Switch, Master of My Make-Believe stands as a catchy, tasteful, artistic, and confident affair – the sound of an underground pop queen standing tall.

Crossing elements of electropop, new wave, reggae, hip hop, dub, and even afropop, Master of My Make-Believe is like a sonic playground of limitless potential for Santigold. And she does a great job of balancing the album’s eclecticism, filtering it into something she can truly call her own. Single “Disparate Youth” packs a frenetic undertow thanks to Zinner’s jabs of electric guitar, perfectly contrasting the song’s cool, rocking march of a beat; it’s synthpop’s bright ethereality settling over the bounce of a reggae dub-tinged beat. The rhythmic powerhouse “Look At These Hoes” doesn’t thematically, or lyrically, feel like it would be a Santigold song, but the track is sharply intense thanks to her delivery as well as her union with the beat. And the album’s single “Big Mouth” is an inescapable jam with its pounding storm of percussion and afropop verve.

Master of My Make-Believe is certainly a twist on traditional pop fare, but it doesn’t necessarily wind up being something particularly groundbreaking or all that different from what’s sprouted over the past few years since Santigold’s debut. And while it may not be as radical as it was intended to be, this is definitely an album that holds its own – this is, undeniably, Santigold and not an emulation of something or someone else. With its eclectic edge and strong production, Master of My Make-Believe is one of the year’s most consistent pop records thus far. Also, a record best enjoyed with a good pair of headphones on, revealing all its fine details.

Master of My Make-Believe is out now on Downtown/Atlantic Records.

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