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Review: ‘Master of My Make-Believe,’ by Santigold

By Bill Friskics-Warren,

Santigold Master of My Make-Believe

Four years have passed since the much-heralded appearance of “Santogold,” the genre-bounding electro-pop debut of singer-songwriter Santi White. Since then, rumors of new tracks, including the likes of “Go!,” last year’s militant collaboration with Karen O, have surfaced on the Internet, only fueling the buildup to the release of White’s new album, “Master of My Make-Believe.” The CD clocks in at just 38 minutes but it is, if anything, even more fraught, electrifying and self-possessed than its predecessor. “Disparate Youth,” the record’s first single, combines crafty orchestration, staccato electric guitar and a fluttering undertow to ominous and beguiling effect. “Don’t look ahead there’s stormy weather, another road block in our way/ But if we go, we go together,” White urges, her tone both embattled and upbeat.

In “Freaks Like Me,” swathed in hypnotic beats and Middle Eastern modalities, she exults in her eccentricities and contradictions like someone who knows just how satisfying, at least from an artistic standpoint, such a combination can be.

Teaming again with beat-crafters Diplo and Switch, White makes liberal use of grinding synths, ululating choruses and hip-hop and Afro-Caribbean rhythms, calling to mind, as much as she might not want to hear it, the more angular and aggressive work of her global-minded sister, MIA. The record’s overriding theme is stardom and celebrity.

“People want my power/ And they want my station,” White crows in “Go!,” only to add, by winking way of encouragement in “God From the Machine,” “You can make it alone . . . if you try.”

— Bill Friskics-Warren

Recommended Tracks

“Disparate Youth,” “Freaks Like Me”

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