Santigold – 99 Cents (Album Review)
Album: 99 Cents
Standout(s): Rendezvous Girl, Banshee, Who I Thought You Were
She is the creator, the innovator. Santigold has released marvelous gems throughout her musical adventure such as L.E.S. Artiste, of course Creator and countless more. She hasn’t allowed her skin tone to define what kind of music she should or need to create. Thus, she has continued to create exciting, interesting and forward-thinking music that expresses her unique point of view. Her latest album 99 Cents continues to expand on the foundation she created on her previous albums.
This album is a mod podge of many different genres, eras and influences placed together harmoniously. From the digitized urban electronica of Walking In A Circle to the frantic marching band thunder of Banshee, there is a huge pool of diversity present. Banshee especially has an youthful enthusiasm that is contagious. The shout-sing ad-libs with the percussions and horns add to the teen spirit vibe. This would be a great Homecoming song during a football game. The 808 drums on Who Be Loving Me make for great twerk music. Somehow the awkward and uninspired cameo from ILOVEMAKONNEN seems to work only after Santigold’s verse made its way onto the track. She easily took back the song with her undeniable charisma and attitude. His actual verse was monotone yet seemingly appealing. It had more personality than when he was singing the chorus solo. Once united with Santigold, the chorus sounded amazing.
The true pinnacle of 99 Cents comes from the glorious new wave tune Rendezvous Girl. The dynamic fast-paced drum loop and her falsetto vocals sound like they were lifted from the 80s directly. The cassette tape intro sustained this premise. Santigold’s vocal performance on this song is unmatched. It shifts and changes throughout the song. It fits into the space of the production while remaining very true to her vocal aesthetic.
To bring together very distinct and sometimes contrary genres into a focused package takes incredible skill. Some artists try to achieve this feat but often times fall flat. Part of the reason in this context it works is because Santigold was able to string together sonics that fit together as whole. The common thread of electronica connects each song together despite their varying sounds. As an added bonus, Santigold has mastered the art of being a vocal chameleon. Her vocal tone is interesting and she understands who to apply it well. Just like going to the Dollar Store, you never know what you might find.