Santigold - 99 Cents - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Santigold - 99 Cents

by Jim Harris Rating:6 Release Date:2016-02-26

Santigo, Santigoing, but not quite Santigone yet. Santigold is back, however, and in between her gigs as a model and merchandiser, Santi White comes back into the pop world with 99¢, and if you are of the pop persuasion and like Grimes and M.I.A. and the like, then you shouldn’t be too disappointed with this one. 

While Santigold released an absolutely classic 2008 self-titled album that had her bursting pop bubbles in all directions (dub, glam, hip-hop pop), her 2012 release came in a bit lower, as she tried to match the wow and impact by employing all sorts of bigtime producers to turn her songs into magic. So what about 99¢?

Lyrically she makes fun of the fact that nobody buys music anymore and you have to have a day job to live your dream. (Join the club, Santi.)  No, Santigold has a great voice that elevates her reggae-lite songs to another level.  The electronics, dub, and semi-power beats on such songs as ‘Can’t Get Enough Of Myself’ and ‘Rendezvous Girl’   accentuate her voice nicely but for the most part, her light-hearted attacks on the industry, mixed with nothing much more musically inspiring than the other electro-pop princesses out there, have her cranking out a fairly strong but not overwhelming effort.

While she mixes it up a little better than Grimes and some of her more sedate songs like ‘Before the Fire’ and 'Chasing Shadows" I find more interesting than most pop songs because of her rich and interesting voice, Santigold comes across with none of the potency of a sexually-charged M.I.A on virtually any of the tracks.

99¢, regardless of the digs she is trying to make about an unforgiving music industry, comes across as a bit too rushed, a bit too casual (The banter song with the hip hop dude, gag), and ultimately like a contractual agreement album, which essentially makes her lyrics sound like whining.  She probably did all right with her Catching Fire soundtrack song, correct?  No, perhaps next time, Santigold can expend less time complaining, and little more time crafting stronger, less fluffy, more inspired song structures.  Or she just might become Santigone.

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