Master of My Make Believe
Downtown Records/Atlantic Records
Today's musicians have grown up plucking songs from the Internet's fruit tree with careless abandon. Pop, electronic, dance, punk, hip-hop, reggae -- musical genres have begun shedding their hard shells faster then you can say "what the hell is Dubstep?!" The beautiful thing about such a crumbling is the freedom that it allows modern artists like Santigold.
Her second full-length effort, the sure to blow your mind Master of My Make Believe, has a who's who of producers rubbing shoulders with Santigold (Switch and Diplo, most famous for their work with M.I.A.; Yeah Yeah Yeah's Nick Zinner; Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest; and David Sitek of TV on the Radio -- just to name a few). Also making an appearance, on opening dance stomp "GO!," is Karen O. Perhaps it's the presence of both Karen O and Nick Zinner, but the Yeah Yeah Yeah influence is all over this record -- and that's a very, very good thing. It's not just the mascara-smeared dance craze or fuzzed out side of the YYY's that is felt, but the quiet moments of sincerity. "This Isn't Our Parade," and "The Riot's Gone" both feel like sequels to It's Blitz!'s "Hysteric," and yes, those are both Zinner productions.
So, yes, Yeah Yeah Yeah fans should rush right out and grab this album, BUT Santigold is no one trick pony. An African jungle rave is evoked on "Big Mouth." "Disparate Youth" has got the irie groove, and the heavy bass and rap verses of "Fame" will tickle hip-hop listeners' ears. Art rockers and pop fans alike will dig "Freak Like Me" that simultaneously recalls Gwen Stefani, YACHT, and Peaches. Want more Peaches? Tap into the fast chant/rap and silly lyrics of "Look at These Hoes."
Look at me and then look at these hoes/ These bitches ain't fuckin' with me, Killa.
We all love the dance beats and breakdowns, we love Santigold at her most colorful, but some of the best moments on this and her 2008 debut occur when she lets the pretty melodies play like a Top 40 pop song in 1986. "The Keepers," "This Isn't Our Paradise," and "The Riot's Gone" -- any one of these songs could have been worn to warping on your old clunky Sony Walkman. Can an MP3 warp from being played too much? I may just find out.