Santigold celebrates the tenth anniversary of her bold debut | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Santigold celebrates the tenth anniversary of her bold debut 

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click to enlarge Santigold

Santigold

Craig Wetherby

On the cover of her 2008 self-titled debut album, Santigold vomits glitter. The image—a black-and-white portrait of the artist with gold sparkles spilling from her mouth—is part photo booth and part DIY craft project, and it immediately demands attention. Now, Santigold is on the road celebrating the album’s tenth anniversary with her 10 Years Golder tour. The album made an immediate impact: Santi gives off a vibe that echoes other artsy weirdos of the era, such as M.I.A. and Björk (both of whom she opened for in 2008), as she jumps from pop to reggae to new wave. Her lyrics explore what it means for an artist to come into her own power: in “Creator” she promises, “Tell me no, I say yes, I was chosen / And I will deliver the explosion.” The album remains fresh and tough to pin down today: the guitars and dreamy vocals on “Lights Out” hint at mid-aughts alt-rock, while the chorus on “Shove It” has the cadence of a playground taunt. Santigold’s next three albums were fun, but they didn’t get quite the same buzz; the most recent is 2018’s mixtape I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions. She’s stayed busy behind the scenes, though: she’s written for Christina Aguilera, produced for Devo, and collaborated with the likes of Lil Yachty and Matt & Kim. A decade after its release, the confidence of Santi’s debut still makes you feel cooler for listening—as if some secret power might slip out of the speakers and into your bloodstream while you bob your head to “L.E.S. Artistes.”   v

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