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CD review: Santigold

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Annie Zaleski

The Details

Santigold
Master of My Make-Believe
Three stars

Santigold (born Santi White, formerly known as Santogold) segued from fronting a strident punk band (the underrated Philly act Stiffed) into a pop-aspiring solo career informed by wildly creative combinations of reggae, hip-hop, electro and new wave. Master of My Make-Believe, the long-gestating follow-up to her 2008 self-titled debut, is a continuation of this vibrant hybridization.

Pogostick-punk opener “Go!” features guest vocals from Karen O and playful lyrical brags, while synth-pop standout “The Keepers” grafts a stuttering drum foundation rooted in Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” with a graceful ’80s diva performance. “Freak Like Me” prances with herky-jerky reggae beats and Nicki Minaj-caliber vocal weirdness, and “Big Mouth” meshes jungle noises, a menacing whisper-coo and harsh, factory-noise rhythms.

Still, despite its creator’s colorful approach, Master of My Make-Believe feels like a collection of sounds rather than a collection of songs. Its strange arrangements lead to plenty of interesting detours, but not nearly enough cohesion or structure.

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