photo source: Atlantic Records
By: Sophie Mirzaian
You probably know Santigold (or Santogold, as she was formerly known) for her 2008 single “L.E.S. Artistes,” a hit in both the U.S. and the U.K. With her new album, “Master of My Make-Believe,” which was released on May 2, we see Santigold departing from her pop style and shifting into something slightly less electronic, more Lykke Li than M.I.A.
As the album starts, you don’t see all that much of old Santi White in it. “GO!” has an interesting sound as it is a mix of genres, like many of the songs on the album. The problem is that even one of the album’s better tracks feels drawn-out and repetitive. If it weren’t for Karen O., who is featured on the track, I would skip to the next song sooner, but even Karen’s part isn’t too impressive or exciting.
First released as a single, “Disparate Youth” combines emphasized guitar, synthesizer, and lyrics about distinct young adults not plagued by laziness but saturated by ambition. White thinks these young people of the world have enough drive to fight for the things they believe in and care about as she does.
“God From the Machine” has substance and compelling rigidity. The accentuated drums add a richness to the song while still maintaining its muted quality. However, it seems White doesn’t understand the concept of “less is more.” The song should have cut out its repetitive parts and been at least 30 seconds shorter.
The fifth track, “Freak Like Me,” is impossible to take seriously. For White’s sake, I hope she meant to use it as a filler, considering a majority of the lyrics in the song are “la la la la” and “you a freak like me.”
An awkward jump from somewhat exciting with a dub vibe to calm marks the middle of the album, where White moves into slower but not higher quality songs. Some of the tracks make me want to play jungle-themed video games rather than continue listening to the rest of the album.
“Master of My Make-Believe” is a fairly decent album on its own, at least when not compared to White’s previous work. It’s somewhat easy to listen to but fails to keep your attention, often turning into mere background noise than an album that has you enthralled. When compared to “Santogold,” Santi White’s 2012 album seems insignificant.
With all the changes, “Master of My Make-Believe” lost many of the qualities that made the first album the gem that it was. You lose the excitement and substance that made White interesting in the beginning.
As with “Santogold,” there were high and low points, but on a much less-impressive scale of musical grandeur. This means lower highs and also lower lows.
If you don’t expect anything good, maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised, but really, don’t go out of your way to listen to the new album unless you’re an avid fan of Lykke Li or M.I.A. However, if you don’t have Santigold’s self-titled album, you should.