One of the greatest challenges for a musician with an outstanding debut album is meeting the expectations of the masses that follow such a brilliant creation. Back in 2008, the artist formerly known as 'Santogold' offered us that brilliance in the form of the then self-titled album Santogold. Now, she's bringing us Master Of My Make Believe under her slightly altered tag, Santigold-- and it does what very few can do-- it trumps an A+ debut with an even bolder collection.
The formula to Santi's success is working alongside some previously fruitful helpers, i.e. producer Diplo and John Hill, and then reeling in an eclectic bunch of musicians to elevate new songs to superior heights via Yeah Yeah Yeah's Karen O, Dave Sitek of TV On The Radio and hip-hop legend Q-Tip. But, what her success truly seems to comes down to is her simple following of the motto, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Proof of that is the first track, "Go!" which features Karen O and it epitomizes that Santigold, New Wave, African beat-influenced sound.
Then we're thrown right into a new pool of wonderment, floating along the effervescent currents of "Disparate Youth." It's the way the captivating beat complements the hopeful lyrics nuanced with what could easily come off as cliches but are made authentic by Santigold's ingenuity. The third track, "God From The Machine," follows that theme of transcendence with its ambient, yet anthemic quality.
Track four, "Fame" followed by "Freak Like Me" keep Master Of My Make Believe from being a trance/hip-hop album. We finally get another taste of that slightly Reggae, beat-heavy Santigold we've come to love on her debut album. And to keep this album from being a choppy mess of different genres, the album finally makes sense of itself, bringing all of its influences together on track, "This Isn't Our Parade."
Simply put, this is musical artistry in its most intelligent form. It's the way Santigold is able to trek across vast expanses of diverse sounds and take what is best from each. Instead of falling victim to repetition and unoriginality, Santigold tweaks and refines the good parts of Santogold and cleverly brands it further. Essentially, no one is doing (or maybe can do) what Santigold is doing.