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Album review: Santigold’s ‘99¢’

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Annie Zaleski

Three and a half stars

Santigold 99¢

Santi White began her career singing in the synth-punk band Stiffed, which perhaps explains why her mainstream pop career has always flouted boundaries. 99¢, her first studio album since 2012, is no different. Sonically, the record flows seamlessly between breezy reggae (“All I Got”), minimalist dancehall (the piano-augmented “Chasing Shadows”), skittering hip-hop (the ominous “Walking in a Circle”) torchy synth-rock (standout “Banshee”) and Yeah Yeah Yeahs-caliber indie-electro (“Outside the War”). Despite the disparate styles, the record hangs together on the strength of Santigold’s voice, a malleable, expressive instrument capable of low rock growls, Siouxsie-style gothic intrigue, dramatic pop-star pirouetting and laissez-faire rapping. The only true misstep is the irritating single “Who Be Lovin Me,” which features painfully off-key, virtually unlistenable vocal contributions from rapper iLoveMakonnen. Otherwise, 99¢ is a well-crafted breath of fresh air, on which Santigold and her creative vision sound invigorated.

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