Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Mar 28th, 2016

Santigold: 99¢

(Atlantic Records)

Buy it at Amazon!

“I’m pretty major, and I’ll say it out loud.” For her first album in four years, Santigold dives right in with a track that sounds like uninhibited bragging. While it’s true that 99¢ reestablishes her as a savvy talent, “Can’t Get Enough of Myself” also takes aim at the assumption that everyone’s lives are as fabulous as their facades are made to seem. Therein lies the genius of 99¢ as an album and Santigold as an artist: her brand of pop is incredibly fun to listen to, but packs a lyrical punch just beneath the surface. “Big Boss Big Time Business” is another confident song, this time seemingly taking aim at men in the music industry. With an ’80s-infused synth pop backdrop, “Rendezvous Girl” uses a call-girl metaphor to exert power rather than express shame. There are also a few darker tracks on the record. In “Before the Fire,” Santigold struggles between basic human desire and the need for self-preservation when she’s already been hurt by a lover. Sinister guitar on “Outside the War” offsets Santigold’s fragile delivery on the verses and wails during the chorus. The lyrics are tantalizingly vague, especially when compared to busier tracks toward the front of the album, which goes to prove that Santigold knows when to be in-your-face and when to pull back. 99¢ is as critical as it is fun, as adventurous as it is meticulous. This is the sound of a proud woman secure in her next steps while still embracing the glorious left field.

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Santigold: 99¢