Date(s) – 06/18
8:00 pm – 11:30 pm
“Santi White used to work in A&R, which gives her put-downs on debut single “Creator” a professional air: “Sit tight I know what you are/ Mad bright but you ain’t no star.” As Santogold, White is putting her knowledge of star quality into practical effect. At its best, her album’s cross-genre confidence is dazzling, combining dub, new wave, and hip-hop to create some of the year’s freshest pop. At its worst, it feels annoyingly overthought.
The central questions of Santogold’s first single, “Creator” (who’s real and who’s fake?), seem to nag at her, but its stunning follow-up, “L.E.S. Artistes”, returns to the topic of creativity, hype, and integrity, with the singer sinking her teeth into Lower East Side poseurs and wannabes. White’s also walking a line herself: She’s a professional songwriter, and talked to the BBC earlier this year about writing for Ashlee Simpson. “It’s like two different hats that I have to wear. It’s like the difference between writing fiction and writing ad copy. It’s like a formula versus your art.”
That’s fair enough. It’s not unlike the age-old compromise of film directors– a movie for the studio, and a movie for me. The problem is that when you compartmentalize formula and art, you risk creating a formula for your art, defining it by what it isn’t rather than what it is. Santogold’s second half seems to fall into this trap, with a series of tepid dub-influenced tracks that kick her obvious pop gifts– melody, hooks, and bounce– to the curb. On “Anne”, the usually fiery White sounds muted and apathetic; “Starstruck” is a patience-eroding mess of keyboard fuzz; and the grating “Unstoppable” feels like being lectured by a parrot.” – Pitchfork