Effortlessly fluid dancehall mixtape taking you on a journey from an urban playground to a rum-sipping Caribbean island.
We’re welcomed to the latest album by Santigold with opening song, 'Coo Coo Coo', a pretty, almost Hawaiian style track, presenting itself like a mischievous maître-de, sweeping the door open to the rest of the album.
Don’t assume from the start that this is an album mainly made up of synth-pop and 80’s inspired anthems, because it’s not, it’s richer than that. 'Wha’ You Feel Like' and 'Valley of the Dolls' is the first taste of how this album pans out, a mix of alternative hip-hop, reggae and New Wave. There’s a good harmonic balance when it comes to song choice and position, it allows you to listen to the whole album without feeling that any of the songs are too samey, that said, at just ten songs, it's the perfect length.
Of course, there’s no mistaking this is the work of Santigold and if you’re a fan, you won’t be disappointed. The pliancy of each track provides a satisfying narrative for the album as a whole, 'Coo Coo Coo' and 'Crashing your Party' transport you to an island, where you’ll be dancing barefoot on the beach, sipping white rum. And before you can settle there, you’re quickly taken somewhere else with 'Run The Road' and 'Wha' You Feel Like', as you’ll envision a more urban summer on a concrete city playground witnessing, or even participating in some kind of dance off.
A subtle echo of the vuvuzela makes an appearance often, along with whistles, sirens, and some 80’s arcade sound effects. It’s an exciting use of these extras and demonstrates the impressive skill of production without being too overbearing. Anything heavy is halted and soon softened by Santi’s
almost ethereal voice, that is until she drops the F-bomb. 'Tune, Don’t Blame Me' is where alternative hip hop makes an obvious appearance but like with all the tracks, it has a lot more depth than to be labelled as anything definitive.
The songs on this album can start off one way and end up identifying as something completely different, which makes for an interesting and refreshing listen. Catchy songs like 'A Perfect Life' work without losing the bounce and pulse of their reggae sire. The album is billed as a Dancehall mixtape and you can see why flitting from genre to genre without compromising Santi’s style or sleek and inventive production skills. This album screams summer, just different versions of it. The New Wave, reggae fusion style of Santigold is prevalent thought-out and thank goodness because that’s what we expect and crave from her as an artist. There is no doubt that this album was created to dance too, and there’s no question you won’t want to.
Listen to the full Santigold album 'I Don't Want: The Gold Fire Sessions' below