I first heard of Santogold late last year when a few sites, Rolling Stone and The BBC included, raved about her being one of the faces to watch out for in 2008. I later found out she contributed her vocals to "Pretty green" on Mark Ronson's "Version" album.
First of all, I was amazed to find out she's American, I think she sounds very British, not unlike M.I.A. whom almost everyone keeps comparing her to, but with more pop appeal. Her voice is something of a raspy yell, not unlike Gwen Stefani's, and her sound is a hodge podge of eighties music styles.
Determined not to get pigeonholed as an R&B singer on account of her race, she tackles electro dub; the moody "Shove it", "Creator" (laden with electronic buzzes and effects), the fantastic "Unstoppable" (with jittery sounding synths, a favourite of mine), and the remix of "You'll find a way". The last pair are the most M.I.A sounding on the album.
The rest is electro rock/pop. Opening cut "L.E.S artistes" has chugging synths and wouldn't sound out of place on a No Doubt album. Bouncier are "You'll find a way", and "Say aha". "My superman" (with a laid back vocal delivery) is a creepy sounding song with an echoing riff, it sounds like the soundtrack to some spy thriller and is a favourite of mine.
"Lights out" has her singing in a smooth cooing voice not unlike Debbie Harry in Blondie, set to a chugging riff (and jangly guitars). "Starstruck" is a slow grinding number with moody sounding synths and electro flourishes, and also downtempo is "I'm a lady" (think Gwen Stefani's "Cool"), and the mellow "Anne" with ghostly wailing and a gently pulsing synth riff is awesome.
Listening through the entire album, I found there wasn't any single track I wanted to skip. Diverse sounds and intelligent lyrics which all stand well together. Pure Gold in my opinion, and yes, she's definitely one to watch out for!
on May 1, 2008
I too saw Santogold open for Bjork last year and have been eagerly awaiting her debut CD. I bought the singles when they became available a while ago & now the entire CD. I am not disappointed in the least! Great music, infectious beats, a truly distinctive voice - the CD is 5 Star all the way. I cannot wait to see her in person again. Hopefully she will come back to her native Philly!
Standouts are L.E.S. Artistes, Creator, and Shove It!
on May 3, 2008
If you haven't heard of Santogold yet it's about time that you did. She's written with Lily Allen and Mark Ronson, and has been compared to MIA and Karen O. She is a college-educated singer-songwriter and producer, whose singles Creator/LES Artistes and LES artistes are released together.
Her Myspace site describes her as a basement rock and Bananarama-soundclash artist, which is a wild combination but pretty accurate.
She's an American lady doing an almost tribal-dancehall-electro-grime-punk-ragga fling. Creator/LES Artistes uses haunting, shrieking voice and electric whines with wonderful shifts of tone throughout aided by Freq Nasty's sublime rhythm section. Simultaneously she has a slight old school humour to her, it's reminiscent of the routes and roots of the most innovative Missy Elliott material. It's very exciting to be so close to something so rare and so new.
She has this fantastic ability to blend into two tracks which sound so different and yet so the same. Her voice shows off its versatility in tone and delivery. In LES Artistes it is quirky and fine somewhere between Rihanna and Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife, while in Creator/LES Artistes she aggresively, rapidly, fluently raps as well as anyone.
LES Artistes addresses the issues of pretentious followers and standing up for what she believes. It's a nice reminder that she had unmitigated creative control over the forthcoming album. Creator/LES Artistes sharply brings out this theme again "Me, I'm a Creator/LES Artistes, thrill is to make it up, the rules I break got me a place, up on the radar". I'm very glad she has.
The suspenseful escalating drama of the single is her lyrical and sonic manifesto, and hopefully the world will listen up.
Okay, so I owe the movie `Fame' a little piece of my current happiness since it was during a particular scene of the film where I whipped out my phone and pulled up that blessed V Cast song ID app and found myself searching the internet for anything I could find on Santogold (or is it Santigold?). `You'll Find A Way' is just all sorts of O-M-G amazing, and the best thing about this self titled debut solo project is that, well, it's not the only song that makes me go O-M-G!
I hope that Rolling Stone was practicing their prolific powers when they declared that Santogold was the "future of music" because I could totally get all wrapped up in this new wave of artistry. For the record, I am not a gigantic fan of M.I.A., an artist who Santogold happens to draw comparisons to. I mean, I like M.I.A., but I find that overall her style overshadows any real substance and her work resembles the early stages of a well intentioned experiment.
Santogold fine-tunes that same experiment, with stunning results.
A flawless mix of punk, industrial, jazz, ska, R&B, hip-hop, dance, techno, African tribal and just about anything else you can think of, Santogold's self titled album is the definition of music. Santi White's vocals are nothing short of tantalizing, simply haunting in their almost eerie sense of provocative sensuality.
You are intrigued as much as you are cautious.
For me, there are a few prime standouts. Both versions of `You'll Find A Way' are just stunning, especially the album version, which for me feels a bit more organic. The punk rock overtones are flawlessly incorporated into Santi's vocal stylings, creating something so absorbing and engaging; and that chaotic burst of chorus chanting is just the epitome of captivating. The `Switch and Sinden Remix' plays on the Indian influences that are prominent in Santi's exotic voice, but it adds a nice twist with the industrial take of hip-hop beats that just make for a brilliant variation of a brilliant song. `Creator' is very much along these lines of greatness, using fun and unique beats to stir excitement in the listener.
Santi certainly delivers the explosion!
`Say Aha' almost feels like a Sublime song in tone, but there is certainly hip-hop influences that flourish here and there. `L.E.S. Artistes' calls to mind Sting and The Police, and the vocals even remind me a tad of Gwen Stefani. This is certainly a pop inspired track that is destined for radio play, and it shows a more commercial side of Santogold, since the remainder of the album basically throws `commercial' to the wind.
`Shove It' took a while to really grow on me (I initially found the repetitive chorus to be rather annoying) but the blues style jazz flow immediately caught my interest and made me give the song more of my attention. The lyrical message is also quite stirring, and after a few listens it has slowly crept up to the middle of my list. `Unstoppable' can get a little repetitive in parts ("I've got to be unstoppable") but the musical arrangement is so catchy and engaging. `Lights Out' is possibly the only song that hasn't really grown on me. The feel is very different (light girl pop indie rock) and while it's far from a bad song, it just doesn't really mesh with the rest of the album to me and kind of becomes forgettable.
`I'm a Lady' feels similar in ways to `Lights Out', but it also feels a little more polished. It also feels like it plays to subtle R&B influences that make it feel a little more connected to the album, even though this album is really all over the place when it comes to influences.
Two of the best songs on the album sandwich the one forgettable track (`Lights Out'). `My Superman' and `Starstruck' are just brilliant. I love the mellowed out vibe to `My Superman', an eerie chemistry with the sound coming through from every aching word. This is one of those song that `transports' you to a totally different place. `Starstruck' is similar in tone, playing off of Santi's enticing vocal display. She heightens her pitch and creates her own instrument, complemented by the twitchy beeps and sounds that litter the backing beats.
The album closer (unless you count the remix of `You'll Find A Way' as the closer) is just stunning. `Anne' puts all of the best Santogold has to offer on display, offering a subtle yet absorbing beat laced with enticing vocals and haunting lyrics.
Not since Robyn's self titled mind-blow have I been this completely provoked by a particular album. Sure, there are a few albums that I've reviewed recently that I may prefer overall (V.V. Brown's debut album `Traveling Like the Light' is exceptionally perfect), this is one of the most interesting, experimental and admirable albums I've heard in a long time, and should prove to be a masterful jump off point for this extremely talented artist!
1) You'll Find a Way (both versions)
4) My Superman
6) Shove It
7) L.E.S. Artistes
8) I'm a Lady
9) Say Aha
11) Lights Out
on April 1, 2016
I love Santogold. This is her debut album. Although not my favorite from here it is great. No fan of hers can deny it. She brings something different to the music scene. It's still a little 'pop' but way more beats!! Some of my favorites from this album are
You'll Find A Way
I'm A Lady
If you are a fan of M.I.A. I would highly suggest checking out Santogold if you don't already know who she is. So young and so full of talent. If you ever have a chance to see her live don't even question it just go! She sounds JUST as amazing live as she does recorded. Her shows are a dance party for sure!! Not to be missed. I hope you all love her as much as I do!
This album is going to be huge. Santogold's debut is one of the most exciting releases by a new artist in recent memory. Its filled with hooks, beats, attitude, intelligence and a voice that makes you sit up and say, "Hey, who is that?".
The first artist you might compare her to is M.I.A., but I'll go out on a limb and say that Santogold has more talent and a wider artistic range. The tracks on a M.I.A. album can start to sound the same after a while, but that's not the case here. Each track on Santogold's debut has a distinct musical identity.
The other artist she brings to mind is Gwen Stefani, at least in terms of vocal timbre, power and acrobatic ability.
Comparisons aside, Santogold is a striking new artist on the world scene and we are lucky witnesses.
on April 30, 2008
I first heard Santogold before she was signed as an artist, opening for Bjork. Her music is well written and represents new New York's fresh new music scene, fresh out of Brooklyn. Some compare her to MIA but Santogold's work is deeper and much more innovative. A great album for summer 2008!
on November 18, 2015
I love every single track on this cd. I could listen to this for weeks on my morning commute and stay pumped, happy, and entertained. I bought two cds on the same day - this and Skrillex's "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites". To my surprise, this is one hundred and forty-three times more enjoyable (and I like Skrillex too). GREAT album!!
on May 16, 2008
When I bought this cd, there was a sticker from the New York Times that said "Singing in a haunting sensual wail . . . she adds a layer of softness to an unusual mix of synthesizers, dance-hall rhythms and perculating new wave." Yeah, Santogold's voice is haunting and that is because nearly every song reminded me of another singer. Most of the time she sounds like Dale Bozzio from Missing Persons with Toyah's loud vibrato. On "My Superman" and "Starstruck" she sounds like Siouxsie Sioux (Sioux's Red Light and Lunar Camel come to mind). On "I'm a Lady" she has a laid back vocal like Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders. Haunting, indeed.
But besides that, this is a fun disc, except for one song (Say Aha) that made me say, "ok, enough". I love Superman, Shove It (I love Jamaican dub), Creator, Starstruck, and definately okayplayer.com's pick, "Unstoppable". I have a feeling that, unless it has already been done, a creative cheerleader is going to make that one into a staple cheer song like Micki or Pump Up the Jam.
on September 28, 2008
When I first listened Santogold, I thought it was a new album by the Yeah yeah Yeah's (as the radio station DJ's), L.E.S. Artistes caught my attention as a great song, and with the feature this guys of 94.7 FM here in Portland called "Track Seven" they played several tracks from this album. That was enough to convince me it was a good album.
What I got to listen was far from what I expected, not only a great album, but something unique I never heard before. There is no song alike, no song I dislike and no song that does not fit perfectly in here.
We have the opening "L.E.S. Artistes" with very direct lyrics, an amazing video and a catchy tune in the chorus.
The next track "You'll Find a Way", something more moving with influences of both alternative and R&B, a nice tune, catchy and great, the same applies for the remix at the end of the album, that does not sounds like the original version.
"Shove it" sounds more R&B to me, with a tune that will make you move at the rythm of the song.
"Say Aha" makes you continue to dance with a more moving tune, this song has again influences of different kinds, I suggest a new "Santogold" category of music should be created for these songs.
"Creator" is what I like to call TLC meets Beck. A tune from both alternative and R&B, a weird song that at the end, is one of the best of the album. The voice loops are stunning and funny to listen in here.
"My Superman" slows downs a little with something more to listen rather to dance. The song catch your attention with a very intense vocals and tunes that are extremely catchy.
"Light out" is a song I can't get out of my head. Pure alternative in this song, with a chorus that is catchy than any other song and a video that is simple, yet funny. This song has become my mood-lifting song replacing Goldfrapp's Satin Chic in that position.
"Starstruck" is probably the song I kind of misunderstood at the beginning, after several times listening to it I finally liked, the intense bass in this song make this slow song one of those you wanna put the bass in your car stereo all the way up. As same as My Superman, a song you'll enjoy listening.
"Unstoppable" is catchy from beginning to end. A funny chorus with those "e,e,e,eh!" that has caught the attention of all the people who I have put to listen to this song. Another of my favorites.
"I'm a Lady" is not slow or fast. Just a beautiful song that a fan of alternative music will enjoy listening to, I love the drums on this songs.
"Anne" or the "howling" song. A nice way to almost close the album, a song extremely unique and very different from the album's concept, a tune that starts slow and then accelerates makes this song excellent. I call it the howling song because the auuuuu's that she uses during the song.
So far, this is one of the best albums of my life, not only this year. A unique album that surprised me when I thought that good music was gone. A must have in your collection, like the music you like, any kind, you will love Santogold!