I don't make music for myself, says Santigold, matter-of-factly. I pay a lot of attention to that -- making music that's liked by more people than just myself. In a scene driven by bravado, few musicians would ruminate on the Zen-like balance behind creating truly gratifying art. But exploring that intersection between integrity and intrigue has always been central to this idiosyncratic musician's appeal. That, in turn, has culminated in her latest release, '99¢', an often-playful satire on the singer's brand.
The '99¢' album cover features me shrink-wrapped among a cluttered mess of things -- my life in a bag, she explains. It is about how everything is a packaged product for sale: how we package ourselves, our lives, our relationships.
It took roughly eight months to manifest her new vision, with assists from a mix of collaborators with poppier visions such as producers Patrick Berger (Robyn, Icona Pop) and John Hill (Florence and the Machine, Charli XCX), alongside eclectic talents known more for globe-trotting sounds such as Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij and TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek. She went into the studio with them intending to make a fun record. My last record had a seriousness to it, she says. This time around, it's more playful -- but still a commentary.
Today, any of her dissents veer toward the contemplative. I wanted to write some songs that felt very personal, she says. Before Santigold, in my other band, I used to write songs like journal entries. And I tried to write a couple of songs on this record where it was really about me and my experience. Though, in true Santigold form, she balances the introspective moments with humorous ones in songs like Who Be Loving Me, a lighthearted boast about fan adoration, produced by Zeds Dead and featuring ILoveMakonnen.
You could go around being annoyed all the time, or you can go, 'This is crazy and actually funny.' Then you can play around with it, and make great art, she says. This album has required me to be more open, less of a perfectionist. Ironically, that's made the prismatic '99¢' her most ambitious album to date. I realize that my work is a collage, she says. And I can pretty much take that anywhere.
1. Can't Get Enough Of Myself (feat. B.C)
2. Big Boss Big Time Business
4. Chasing Shadows
5. Walking In A Circle
6. Who Be Lovin Me (feat. ILOVEMAKONNEN)
7. Rendezvous Girl
8. Before The Fire
9. All I Got
10. Outside The War
11. Run The Races
12. Who I Thought You Were