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4.7 out of 5 stars73
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2012
I was actually waiting for this one on baited breath, now that I have it and have heard it I realize - while its not bad - its not quite what I was expecting. Go! as an early promo had me, probably a lot of people, expecting a harder hitting and more daring endeavor than what the album is overall. There was also a dnb hybrid tune floating around at concerts that I was looking forward to hearing more of - apparently didn't make the cutting floor. She did mention something in a Pitchfork interview that Karen said; it could be that she decided to play it safe since its been four years and as fast as music goes these days she likely does need to introduce herself all over again.

The thing I love about her though - she's a rarity, almost unique in the US. She's willing to actually get 'into' the music and voyage rather than vying for the common denominator. She's also got an uncanny ability to take almost anything - dub reggae, skater thrash, dubstep, dnb, etc., throw it together, tie the connections out her way, and make it seamless. That might be partly why some tracks of the album feel a little bit like they were phoned in; I've got no doubt on their authenticity but I think she's made better tunes in the interim and perhaps this just wasn't the time for them to get released.

Hopefully she'll be more active in the next few years though and a reintroduction won't be needed - and with that she'll find license to take bigger risks on her next release.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Well looks like the city of Philly has produced yet another talent. Santigold is solid proof of two things. That a 30 something has a place in the modern pop music world and that color of ones skin does NOT dictate musical style. She's actually only been around for about five years as a recording artist. And I knew next to little about her self titled 2008 debut album except for the sparkly gold glitter cover. But a friend of mine with very good musical tastes pointed me towards a song from this album and got me curious. It's very true. I am extremely critical of modern music. But that doesn't mean negative. Criticism is supposed to be a well rounded process. It often isn't,even for me. But I am always looking to give it my best especially when something obviously has so much creative energy and though put into it. And that in a word is how I feel about Santigold. One thing that pleases me right off is she openly appreciates and embraces the color and African influence of 80's musics such as new wave and world beat revival. In a word that describes exactly what Santigold's fusion of sound is.

With an enormous amount of creative control from writing and producing she creates a rhythmic based sound that represents a fusion of Afrobeat,new wave styles dance rock and even a certain punk funk edge into the sound. So is she a modern day Nona Hendryx? In a sense maybe. But far more based in the contemporary idiom. On the opening "Go" and the hit song "Disparate Youth" she's challenging listeners to be inspired and follow their creative muse rather than their pocketbooks. While "The Keepers" and "Pirates In The Water" do have this strong new wave dance influence other songs such as "Freak Like Me" and "Fame" are essentially based in this combination of afro-cuban rhythms and that heavy Arabic influenced sound. On "This Isn't Our Parade" and "God From The Machine" that afro caribbean element of the sound is even more prominent. And the best part is her melodies aren't derived from fully Western sources anymore than her rhythms are. By the end of the album with the "Look At These Hoes",despite it's utter lyrical junkiness and "Big Mouth" are basically full on afro beat all the way.

So in the end this isn't music with a funky groove. This isn't music that rocks. And it doesn't make your head bang. Somehow Santigold has hit on something it may take people a little while to fully absorb in terms of impact. And that is to create a mainstream American and modern dance/rock style record...with rhythms and melodies based almost entirely on very non western rhythmic and melodic concepts. I've heard this done by a lot of people on a song here and there. And I've heard countless people talk about doing music like this. Honestly the closest I've heard to what's happened here is some of Beyonce's music. Only with her it's still that basic gospel derived soul music underneath the rhythmic layers. This music owes little if nothing to any of that. The music sounds exotic and foreign. I am sure others might call it "wild and savage". But in this day and age where people are far more aware of their prejudices than they once were,one must be careful not to repeat 1920's France's comments on weather Josephine Baker or her pet leopard were more "deliciously savage". Santigold has a very obviously educated understanding of the music that influences her. And her experiencing with using them comes with making music like this. This is a creative,challenging album that will have most people dancing. But probably in a way they never have before.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2012
"Master of My Make-Believe" by Santigold (real name: Santi White) is well, brilliant! No sophomore slump here ladies and gentleman! Just 37 minutes of absoulte joy and chaotic, sarcastic pop gems. There is not one bad apple on this album and it seems like everytime I listen to it, I find a new favorite. "Go!" features Karen O (lead singer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) is total ear candy to the extreme and the producers who worked on this album, John Hill and Greg Kurstin just to name a few, really let Santigold expand her sound and all 11 tracks have got me feeling a range of emotions. "God From the Machine" has a beautiful textured quality and I love the lyric: "How is it that your scars light up like flashlights in the dark?" Whereas "Pirate in the Water" has a gritty edge to it but still keeping with a gentle touch with lyrics like: "Don't let 'em take you like the buccaneers do, right through the heart they'll tear you in two, then ride the vessel that they turned you into..." Santigold really took chances with this album, she even wrote a couple of ballads, "This Isn't Our Parade" and "The Riot's Gone" - her vulnerability really shines through on these tracks. "The Keepers" is a masterpiece of a song with a catchy, sing-a-long chorus and the lead single, "Disparate Youth" is just beyond addicting! And of course, you've got Santigold's signature tongue-in-cheek tracks like "Freak Like Me" and the perfect album closer, "Big Mouth". The lyrics are polished and honest, the music is flawless and experimental and lastly, Santigold's vocals are so unique but mainstream as well. I wish Santigold would get more exposure because she's so talented and unconventional, so I guess until that happens...this album will stay my little hidden and much-loved treasure! Buy this now, you won't be disappointed!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2012
Santi White's music is so avant-garde that it's keyed into musical trends and forms you haven't even heard of yet while simultaneously being so grounded in the music of her generation...the stuff that's embedded in the subconscious, soul, and bone marrow of every Gen X'er...that it will give Millennials flashbacks of laying on the shag carpet eating Smurfberry crunch and watching Thudercats in their He-Man pajamas when they weren't even born until 20 years after any of that stuff was relevant.

As with her last album, 2008's "Santogold", Santi's sophmore solo effort "Master of My Make Believe" represents a fusion of electronica, hip hop, dancehall, punk, ska, new wave, and pop. This time, however, the album seems a bit darker and Santi seems a bit more cynical and sardonic. Think Patty Donahue channeling Peter Tosh. At least one of her offerings on this disc, the audacious and aggresive "Big Mouth", seems to be aimed squarely at some of the vapid pop divas of the day. Others, such as the dancehall-influenced "Pirate in the Water" and the new wave ballad "Keepers" contain warnings about the dangers of sacrificing one's soul to the machine without even realizing it. The frenetic "GO!" (featuring Karen O of the Yeah! Yeah! Yeahs!) and the driving "Look At These Hoes" are so cunningly well-crafted that they leave the listener wondering if they represent sarcastic parodies or genuine hip hop inspired braggadocio. With Santigold, a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in Ric Ocasek's leather jacket, one never knows.

There's not a single track you'll want to skip over on this disc. They're all worth repeated spins, from the haunting "Disparate Youth" and "God From the Machine" to the dance worthy "Freak Like Me" and "Fame". The album really hits its stride for me, however, on tracks six and seven, "This Isn't Our Parade" and "The Riot's Gone". For one reason or another, these songs hit me like a straight right/left-hook combo from Joe Frazier. Saying these songs are powerful and cinematic is like saying Aeon Flux likes leather and shooting things. The lyrics, the music, the mood...the space these songs took me into...was truly something was like my brain connected both of them with the most emotional, heartwrenching scenes in two John Hughes movies I never saw. I swear, in some alternate reality these songs were playing while Megatron shot a hole in Optimus Prime's chest and Kristy Briggs was dying having Kevin Bacon's baby. When I heard "Parade" I said to myself, "This is it. This is my favorite track on this fantastic album!" and then "Riot" came along and took me deeper. Santigold is amazing.

I do have one small complaint about this release, but it isn't worth sacrificing a star: the so-called "deluxe edition" should've been available on disc instead of only in download format. As such, those of us who consider themselves "collectors" found themselves missing out on three bonus tracks (two remixes - of "GO!" and "Disparate Youth" - and one original track entitled "Never Enough"). For those of us who *never can get enough* of Santigold's work, this is a bit of a disappointment. Sure, you can just buy the downloads separately (I did) but it's just not the same as having them on the disc.

It is worth noting, by the way, that as with her last album, Ms. White wrote every track on this disc and produced nearly half of them. The woman is a force. Period. And so cutting edge retro that she is "new wave" in every possible sense of the word. Cop this album. You won't be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2012
Santigold does an unnamed style of music that is equal parts indie rock, reggae, dub, electronica, hip-hop, and world beat. She is not the first and only artist to do this style - M.I.A. also does it and did it before her.

It is a good formula that results in music with great beats and fierce delivery, and Santigold's "Master of My Make Believe" is no exception. It's not music you'll dance to, nor music you'll sing along to, but rather music you can appreciate for its untypical rhythms. The songs make you think hard. The lyrics are hard to interpret. I don't understand what any of the songs are about. If they have any social-political meaning, or tell a personal story, I don't see it. I'm sure they do, but it's a mystery to me currently and I'll have to look for it.

"Disparate Youth" is the strongest track on the album, and appropriately its first single. "GO!", "God From The Machine", "Fame", "This Isn't Our Parade", "The Riot's Gone", and "Pirate In The Water" are also tracks that stood out for me.

My only complaints about the album are that it is somewhat monotonous - most of the songs have that same mood and vocal delivery. And while the formula for the album is eclectic, most of the songs have a similar fusion.

Check Santigold's music out, if you're looking for something only few artists can do.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2012
Santigold hands down nails it here. It's definitely a departure from her first album, which may distance some fans if they don't give it a chance, but with a lead off track like Go!, I'm not sure how they could resist. This is a cohesive, at times beautiful, brutally honest album with some damn fierce beats. "This Isn't Our Parade" and "God From the Machine" are two stand outs that could be some of her best work to date.

If you're a fan the usual suspects of the pop landscape like Nicki Minaj, Gaga etc., definitely download this as well as her first album. You'll see that Santigold shows these artists how it's really done: on her own terms, her own words and without the desperation of seeking a "hit". Though I have to say, if she were given the right promotion, a lot of these tracks would do just fine on the charts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2012
I've been an avid fan since she was "Santogold", oddly enough I was unaware that this new album was coming out as I hadn't really heard anything being promoted toward it, maybe it was me being too busy or just plain oversight. Either way I came across it as I was browsing the new music selection on itunes, low and behold there it was, tempting, promising and utterly phenomenal! I sampled EVERY song and was BLOWN away by her immense talent and her in-touch mood music. The lyrics are inspiring, the beats are fresh and her voice is so in sync' with what she relays thru her music, it's a completely gorgeous album and it keeps you moving and wanting more. I still listen to it non-stop and it has become one of my ABSOLUTE favorites to do virutally any activity to...please, if you enjoy new, fresh and upbeat yourself a favor get into Santigold.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Musical chameleon Santigold (formerly Santogold) returns with a sophomore album almost as eclectic as her eponymous debut was. Opening is the glitchy "GO!" with shades of M.I.A alternating between cheerleader-style chants and martial beats.

"Disparate Youth" is Dubby with keys, strings and bursts of guitar. Continuing in the Dub vein are the haunting "God From The Machine" (interspersed with martial beays), the spare "Fame" with clunky/skittery beats, the skeletal snaking "Freak Like me", and the glitch "Pirate In The Water".

Next are the haunting synth-string driven "This Isn't Our Parade", the languid ballad "The Riot's Gone" (with gently trilling guitars and swaying beats), the sunny galloping Pop of "The Keepers", the skeletal Dubstep-inspired "Look At Those H**s", and the messy sound of "Big Mouth".

A delightful reintroduction to those who missed her first time out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2012
Love Santigold. She makes such different music ( she is not like MIA) People are too easy to make comparisons. Santigold is her own artist. This album is a worthy follow up. It is not as good as her debut but enjoyable My favorite tracks are Disparate Youth, The Keeper, God from the Machine and Fame.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2012
Santigold knocked me out with this one. I thought she a knock off of M.I.A. but this album proved me wrong. Great songs good mix of dance, reagea, electronica, and anything else she threw in her musical stew. Bam!
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