sat 28/01/2023

Album: Santigold - Spirituals | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Santigold - Spirituals

Album: Santigold - Spirituals

She's back and she's still blazing a creative trail

Those talented internationally-renowned musicians are just like the rest of us, you know? They had a rubbish time during lockdown too – turns out it was the great leveller after all. Santigold’s latest album (her sixth, the first for four years) is the direct result of being stuck at home with three kids under six.

But rather than sending her crawling up the walls (although there is a bit of that) it’s made her reassess her creative direction.

Quite why Santigold hasn’t broken through more universally is a mystery to many. Perhaps the mix of her punk ethos, echoes of dancehall, slightly “arty” approach that confuses. But there’s nothing in the least bit difficult here, especially if you’re happy with a little experimentation and lots of disparate musical references. That’s what she first delivered over 14 years ago, breaking many moulds alongside MIA.

The title is inspired by “the idea of Negro spirituals, which were songs that served the purpose of getting Black people through the un-get-throughable.” “Shake” certainly channels this feeling with a simple message delivered with an infectious beat and positivity: “you’ve got to keep on moving”. She describes the single “Ain’t Ready” as her battle song; “No Paradise” brings Little Simz to mind, and “High Priestess” sounds more like the old Santigold – a super-strong chorus and powerful vocal which create a real grower. What’s remarkable is the scope – from the deceptively sweet-sounding “My Horror”, which opens the album through to the rambunctious indie-flavoured finale of “Fall First” (incredible wailing, btw), there’s nothing she’s not afraid to incorporate into her song-making.

Perhaps the cohort of collaborators on this album should give an indication that Santi’s approach is inclusive and her inspirations far-reaching. Spirituals includes the work of Rostam (Vampire Weekend), Boys Noize, Dre Skull, P2J (Beyoncé, Stormzy, FKA Twigs – the latter who has clearly listened to a lot of Santigold), Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Sbtrkt, JakeOne, Illangelo (The Weekend, Lana del Ray), Doc McKinney (Mary J Blige, Kelis), Psymun, Ricky Blaze (Sean Paul, Nicki Minaj), Lido (Ariana Grande, Mariah Carey), Ray Brady (not the Irish footballer) and Ryan Olson (no clues).

It’s a brief album – just 10 songs long, many of which don’t make the three minute mark. But maybe that’s as well, with so much going on. What’s certain is that Santigold has never rested on her laurels – fans will devour this with relish. And hopefully new admirers will realise what they’ve been missing.

There’s nothing she’s not afraid to incorporate into her song-making


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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