"Master of My Make Believe" is a Lullaby for the Lonely and the Lost

Saturday, 09 June 2012 15:51 Written by  Aspyn Jones

Anyone who was looking for a continuation of the haphazard, joyful reggae-infused “punktronica” of Santigold’s previous self-titled debut may have to hold their breaths until her third effort.

The 35-year-old Santi White must have become disillusioned with the world in general on her sophomore album. Make Believe is the soundtrack of disillusion and disenfranchisement, with producers such as Switch and Diplo as her maestros.

It’s not that you won’t find any danceable tunes on this record. Santigold manages to produce a club banger worthy of an empowerment anthem on “Look at These Hoes.” A defiant White proclaims “these bitc••• ain’t fu•••• with me,” amidst a heavy rap-centric beat. Probably the most Hip Hop song Santi’s ever done.

“Big Mouth,” the singer’s first single released from Make Believe, is a quirky middle finger to the mainstream. Santi caused a bit of a stir by thinly referencing Lady Gaga, Lindsay Lohan, and Katy Perry in the video.

And that’s where the fun stops.

Though the opening track, “Go!,” featuring Yeah Yeahs Yeahs front-woman Karen O, with its repetitive monosyllabic ‘eh eh eh’ chant is a party-starter, it’s as if the rest of the album pulls you off the dance floor and back into the sad state of reality.

“Disparate Youth,” a play on TV On The Radio’s 2004 album Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes could stand as an anthem for fighting oppression together. But then again so could the subsequent songs on the album.

There’s military-like drums in “God From the Machine,” with Santi urging us to “make it alone” if you try. She’s at it again on “This Isn’t Our Parade” in a drowsy candor, letting us know that we’re not being celebrated.

It’s definitely a darker turn for Santigold, whose first album, though self-affirmative and a bit bleak at times still managed to make you get up and dance, not sit down and sulk.

Considering all of the attention she’s gotten, both good and bad, from being constantly compared to M.I.A. to crying racism when she’s classified as R&B, to her claims of being “disappointed with the state of music,” it may come as no surprise that Santi is just realizing what the world has come to.

This is a woman who has critics attempting to classify the unclassifiable. A woman who believes music now has become nothing more than a machine rather than actual art. A woman who just wants to put out good music and have it appreciated.

Make Believe is the product of the singer’s four years of writer’s block and pent up emotions set to a reminiscently 80‘s groove. Much like Lykke Li’s 2011 sophomore album Wounded Rhymes, Santigold jumped on the sad train, exploring feelings of isolation and rejection from the rest of the world. It’s raw. It’s real.

If reality is too harsh, this album simply isn’t mean to be heard by your ears. And seeing as some of the production isn’t as random and energetic as her previous effort, this definitely would not be a good choice. However, the rest of Santigold’s fans may find Make Believe to be her most sincere effort yet.


Scroll down to see the official "Disparate Youth" Video.

Aspyn Jones

Aspyn Jones

Aspyn Jones is a new GMO staff writer. She can be contacted at aspyn.jones@loop.colum.edu

Related Video

"Disparate Youth" Video by Santigold (Santi White)