Music Reviews

Artist: Santogold
Title: Santogold
Format: CD
Label: Downtown Records (@)
Rated: *****
Who is Santogold? An African-American 32 year old woman, singer, songwriter and record producer. Born Santi White and held out of the City of Brotherly Love known as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This talented woman got her start in the music industry by working for a major label Epic Records as an A&R representative, but left the position to write and produce a song "How I Do", the debut from the singer Res. She also was a singer for the Philadelphia-based punk rock band Stiffed. While in this band, she was offered a solo contract. Her self-titled debut album breaks through the commercial music charts in the US & the UK. Santogold's album is a comparison to the sound of new wave 80's and punk and ska/reggae. Heavy synthesizers takes the toll with a rhythmic beat. Santogold vocals and vocal arrangments is reminder of Terri Bozio from Missing Persons and Siouxsie Sioux from Siouxsie & The Banshees. Her voice concocts in a soft haunting and wailing style.

The song "L.E.S. Artistes" kicks the disc off. A track similarly to the brushing tone vibe of Missing Persons and Blondie. The remix version is also included on this album. Composed and mixed with a dancehall feel. We get "You'll Find A Way", a new wave & ska combination that gives you an idea of the similar sound by The B-52's and British ska band English Beat (aka The Beat). Going deep for a joyride in the dub/ska/reggae genre format form, a deliver of "Shove It" with a slap in your face groovy funky tight kick ass bassline. Take a journey on a plane to Jamaica to dance. This reminds me of the five young black British boys Musical Youth, formed out of Birmingham, England back in the early 80's, who spun a hit "Pass The Dutchie" and video received a heavy rotation on MTV. Santogold gives us a punk reggae on "Say Aha". The Clash fans will love this one.

Entering the portal of electronic music genre, the progressive quirky bleeps and noises sparks out in "Creator" as Santogold adds rap on top of it. This song was used for a Bud Light Lime beer commercial here in the U.S. The seductive vocals stands out in "My Superman", as if we're wandering back in Berlin era of their first album "Pleasure Victim". In the 80's, remember those days at school there was a time when teenagers was dancing to music playing by live bands, especially in movies? Imagine Santogold existed in that time. Her songs "Lights Out" and "I'm A Lady" will be absolutely perfect featuring on a couple of film soundtracks. "Lights Out" has appeared in VO5 hair products commercials in the UK. Everytime I listen to it, I think of the all girl band The Go-Go's. The song is very well written, the singing and the background humming harmony is a reflection of female bass player Jane Wiedlin. "I'm A Lady" is thought provoking that goes down the line of Chrissy Hines and her band The Pretenders.

Sliding back in the electronic & synth-pop genre, the melodic "Star Struck" follows in the dark and shadowy steps of Depeche Mode, their darkwave era. We proceed on to another British band sound we all know, Bananarama. A personality of the female trio and a Jamaican accent added to make "Unstoppable" a complex track to make. Santogold did a superb job by pulling it off. The song is about a woman who's dangerous and carries a gun and different kinds of flammable sprays that is used to spray any attacker in the face. Furthermore, on the run, especially from the police. Finally we're now engulfed in the darkness and the ghost of "Anne" gives us the gothic and haunting reminiscent sound of Siouxsie & The Banshees. On this track, Santogold does sound like Siouxsie. Soft gloomy vocals will pull you in. The song will get alot of attention at a club where everyone wears black.

Despite today's mainstream music sucks and making people dementia in this day & time in the 21st century, Santogold wants to bring back real music that everyone can relate to and feel. She is rated as one of the top ten artists to look out for this year of 2008. Her music has already been receiving heavy rotation in clubs and airplay in urban Afghanistan. Her professional music skills is a promising in the near future.






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