Music Feature

Album Review: Santigold is Back

by Ryan O'Connell
Santigold finally returns with Master of My Make-Believe

Some people’s brains just work differently than others.

I used to work with a dude who was one such person. We’ll call him This Guy I Know and when discussing a plan of attack for something, I’d have to stop him in mid-sentence and stress the need for his ideas to come out in a 1-2-3 fashion. Otherwise, they made no sense to me. I firmly believed that if you asked him to say the alphabet, he’d start at A, go to B and then go straight to L, lump M-P together, before finally just going straight to Z.

Now while I don’t know her personally, I can only assume Santigold would also have a different way of reciting the alphabet as well, because like This Guy I Know, she is someone whose brain works differently than most.

On May 1st, Santigold releases Master of My Make-Believe, the follow up to her 2007 self-titled debut album. Much like that album, Master of My Make-Believe just sounds completely different than anything else out there. But unlike that album, the level of accessibility is much different. The new album is nearly devoid of singles or pop hooks. There certainly isn’t anything nearly as bouncy and summertime-friendly as “Lights Out” on the album. “Disparate Youth” is catchy, but it’s catchy in the way that it almost lulls you into a gently bobbing your head while you listen to it trance and after listening to it, you find yourself humming the chorus to yourself, even though you might not totally know the words. The self-titled album was easy to get down to. Master of My Make-Believe is get down music, it’s just a different kind of get down. I guess what I’m trying to say is that while the party jams might not be there, the jams still are- just to a different kind of party.

2007 was a while ago and Santigold’s debut album was well-received. But instead of jumping at the opportunity to really break out, she seemed to disappear. The break in between albums and the relative obscurity Santigold faded back into makes Master of My Make-Believe almost a debut album version 2.0 for her. This is a confident album, complete with calculated risks and chances most artists aren’t willing to take. It seems like we are meant to take Santigold for better or worse. When she emerged in 2007, there wasn’t really anyone else out there doing what she was doing- this brazen mix of Caribbean beats and pop-punk rambunctiousness. But since then, that album doesn’t seem nearly as wild as it did back then. That’s what makes Master of My Make-Believe special- it’s casual disassociation with the past as it moves toward the future. But it’s not a scorched Earth transition and the new album isn’t jarring to the point that fans will be turned off, which is always reassuring. If anything, it shows that the 2007 album wasn’t a statement or declaration of who Santigold was as much as it was a launching point for her to take off from.

With summer coming right around the corner, this album drops at just the right time. There is other music out there for your beach parties and block parties. Enjoy Master of My Make-Believe on a roof deck with friends or on car ride to the beach and remember, the jams are still there, the setting has just changed. 

People like Santigold and This Guy I Know make our lives interesting. They may say the alphabet differently or take way to long between albums, but it's a small price to pay for being kept on our toes.

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