Saturday, July 26, 2008

Album Review: Santogold – s/t

I have this silly little tendency on occasion, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned, to stubbornly turn my nose up at the "It" band of the moment, simply because I don’t want to listen to the same shit everyone else I know is listening to. I don’t know why I do it, or how I decide which bands to ignore, but this snobbery rears its ugly head more often than I’d like. Most notably, I was rather late to the Arcade Fire bandwagon, which I am still kicking myself for. The latest example of my negligence is the one-woman ferocity known to the world as the face of Santogold, and to her mother as Santi White.

I should have fallen in love with the album immediately, what with all that gorgeous gold glitter on the cover. But no. Week after week went by, month after month, and I ignored Ms. White with a studious diligence. Eventually, when Santogold showed up on E-music, I caved and downloaded it. And after totaling seven thousand plays (alright, this figure is a slight exaggeration), I happily (or unhappily, as the case may be) admit that it was rather foolish of me to ignore said album for as long as I did.

Santogold is, in fact, golden from the get-go, not to mention top to bottom. “L.E.S. Artistes” is a swaggering piece of mocktacular electropop, using wicked beats to back White’s honeyed yet razor-sharp belting. You might hear shades of Cyndi Lauper (!) in “You’ll Find a Way,” along with bouncy, healthy beats. There are two songs on Santogold that I can’t stop listening to, and as luck would have it they’re back-to-back. The first, feisty grrrl anthem, “I’m A Lady,” is impossibly appealing, with its mellow, almost reggae feel, and particularly spicy vocals from Madame White. The other, “Anne,” is a delicious blend of 80s synth, slightly Kate Bush-ian “ooohs,” and straight up irresistibleness, all wrapped up neatly in a meaty and beaty package. I have seriously listened to it on repeat for entire days.

The entire album has a seriously party-centric vibe, making it perfect for listening to while prepping for a night out, while cruising along in your fuel-efficient vehicle, or pretty much at any hour of any given day. Consider it a lesson learned, my friends, that sometimes it doesn’t pay to be an übersnob. If hordes of people are listening to something, it doesn’t always mean it’s overrated, overhyped, and overblown. Sometimes, as with the Arcade Fire and Miss Santogold herself, hearing is believing.


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