Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #150 - Santigold, "Master of My Make-Believe"

"People want my power," she begins on "GO!", "Stormed my Winter Palace." She collaborates with Karen O in a mid-Noughties Brooklyn revival, though Karen's input doesn't seem massive. It's an attempt to stamp her authority on things from the outset. Though I'm not sure exactly what her reputation is: art school type urban pop poser or genuine creative type? I saw her a few years ago supporting MIA and it was a good night and her dancers were fierce, but she may have suffered from the comparisons a little.

"Disparate Youth"? That's a bit of portentous title, isn't it? And as it's got a bit of a skank shuffle going on amidst the synth strafe and , should it be pronounced as Yoot? Postive thinking about running if dreams can't carry them, finding "a life worth fighting for". The talk of fight and the revolutionary rhetoric points to an empty uprising, a pop pose rather than anything genuinely political. Does that mean it's necessarily a bad thing? "God From the Machine". Jeez, does the portent ever end?

Not sure what angle Santi's coming in from on "Fame", claiming that she doesn't want it. Doesn't quite ring true. The borderline dubstep hoover in the background gives the impression of zeit in the geist. I feel as though I'm being more cutting than the album deserves. It sounds good. But I find myself drawn to the lyrics. "This Isn't Our Parade" has an interesting flat feel, both musically and lyrically.

On "The Riot's Gone", the scene is set, in which Santi sets herself at the centre of her struggle: "I've been looking for a fight/..I've been looking for an angle/A cause I can't defend". Then she seems to tell her off on the next track, "Pirate in the Water": "While you're burning away/The thing's going down". Again, I'm not focussing on the backing sounds, which are good. Studio dub with a lilting skank. And fire is back on the next track, "The Keepers", thinking about America sleeping while the house is burning down. But you have to talk about something else.

This is maybe where my unease lies. Santi keeps telling us what she is, but doesn't do much else. Revolution without content. A parade of nothing, keepers pointing us towards nothing. And "Look At These Hoes"? Come on! Again the music is sleek and moody and tight, but the lyrics are vacant. At least MIA's "Bad Girls" has some visceral imagery: "My chain hits my chest/While I'm banging on the radio."

"Big Mouth" has some moves on it, rattling and shaking its rumps hard. I keep saying the music is good, but the lyrics disappoint. There, I said it again. If only she could add a little fibre to the sauce.

Rating: Revolution out of Empty

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