Santogold (album)

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Studio album by Santogold
Released April 29, 2008 (2008-04-29)
Recorded 2007
Genre New wave, dub, reggae fusion, electronica[1]
Length 41:19
Label Downtown Records (US), Atlantic Records (UK)
Producer Diplo, Disco D, Freq Nasty, John Hill, Jonnie "Most" Davis, Santi White, Switch, Chuck Treece, Steel Pulse
Santogold chronology
Top Ranking
Singles from Santogold
  1. "Creator"
    Released: February 24, 2008
  2. "L.E.S. Artistes"
    Released: May 5, 2008
  3. "Lights Out"
    Released: August 11, 2008
  4. "Say Aha"
    Released: November 24, 2008

Santogold is the debut studio album by American artist Santigold (real name Santi White, who performed under the moniker Santogold at the time of the album's release). The album was released on April 29, 2008 in the United States and May 12 in the United Kingdom, on Downtown Records and Atlantic Records, respectively.[2][3]

Blending a variety of musical genres ranging from new wave to alternative rock and reggae, the album was very well received by critics upon release and was noted for its "cross-genre confidence".[4] It earned multiple spots on 'top albums of the year' lists from major music periodicals such as NME, Rolling Stone, and Spin,[5] and was positively compared to several other artists, including Debbie Harry, Pixies, M.I.A., Goldfrapp, The Go-Go's, Joe Strummer, and The Slits.[4] White, who was admittedly influenced by '80s new wave rock, based the music of "My Superman" from the song "Red Light" by Siouxsie and the Banshees.[6]

The album spawned four singles, most notably "L.E.S. Artistes" and "Creator", and features appearances and/or production work from Bad Brains' Chuck Treece, Clifford Pusey of Steel Pulse, Diplo, Disco D, Freq Nasty, Spank Rock, Radioclit, Sinden, Switch, and Trouble Andrew.[7] In addition to vocals, Santi White played guitar and keyboard on several songs on the album.[8] The music video for the album's lead single, "L.E.S. Artistes", is an homage to the 1973 Alejandro Jodorowsky art film, The Holy Mountain.[9]


Santigold's goal for the album was to "help break down boundaries and genre classifications" and show that she wasn't just "a black woman singing R&B."[10] "The cool thing is that I was able to work with all these genres that are typically sub-cultural, like dub or punk or something, and then, by writing in a way that had hooks, made it accessible to everyone."[11] When Santigold had signed to Atlantic Records, the album was "pretty much done and they already loved it. They asked me not to change anything on it."[12] The writing and recording process took eight weeks.[12] Santigold had tried to work with her friend Mark Ronson, whom she collaborated with for his album Version, but "it wasn't possible timing-wise."[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 77/100[13]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[14]
The A.V. Club A−[15]
Entertainment Weekly A−[16]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[17]
The Independent 4/5 stars[18]
MSN Music A−[19]
NME 8/10[20]
Pitchfork Media 7.1/10[4]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[21]
Spin 4/5 stars[22]

According to review aggregator Metacritic, Santogold has been received positively, with a score of 77 out of 100.[13] The album was given four out of five stars by Rolling Stone, saying that Santogold "mixes dub, electronic and new wave for one of the year's most unique debuts." The Hartford Courant agreed, continuing that no songs are alike, "yet they fit together to form a cohesive whole".[23] PopMatters opined that "if this is the struggles of urban artists, [Santigold's] anthems ensure that starving will never go out of style."[24] Entertainment Weekly also gave the album an A-. "The album is hardly flawless, but in an era that retro-fetishizes rock and whitewashed pop, Santogold feels both raw and real."[16] NME felt the album "reveals a glittery crazy-paved path towards a brave new musical future."[20] However, Drowned in Sound stated that "Tunes-wise there's some strength in depth here but it's telling that, in spite of the lip service being paid to various left-of-centre influences, Santogold feels a strangely conservative listen, in danger of satisfying neither fans of wild stylistic forays nor the bubblegum masses thirsting after their latest dose of content-free self-assertion."[25] The album was made #39 in Q's 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008.[26] Rolling Stone placed the album at #6 on the 50 Best Albums of 2008 list.[27] The magazine also placed "L.E.S. Artistes" at #2 on the 100 Best Singles of 2008 list.[28] Pitchfork gave the album an initial review of 7.1/10 and later named Santogold the 22nd best album of 2008.

Track listing[edit]

# Title Writer(s)
Featured guest(s) Time
1 "L.E.S. Artistes" S. White, J. Hill Jonnie "Most" Davis, J. Hill,
S. White
- 3:24
2 "You'll Find a Way" S. White, J. Hill,
Chris Feinstein
Jonnie "Most" Davis, J. Hill,
S. White, Switch
- 3:00
3 "Shove It" S. White, J. Hill,
N. Juwan, D. Shayman
J. Hill, Disco D, S. White,
Spank Rock 3:46
4 "Say Aha" S. White, J. Hill J. Hill, S. White, Switch - 3:35
5 "Creator" S. White, D. Taylor,
D. McFayden
Switch, Freq Nasty vs. Switch
Freq Nasty
6 "My Superman" S. White, J. Hill, W. Pentz,
Siouxsie and the Banshees
J. Hill, Diplo - 3:00
7 "Lights Out" S. White, J. Hill, C. Feinstein J. Hill, S. White - 3:12
8 "Starstruck" S. White, J. Hill J. Hill, Switch, Diplo - 3:54
9 "Unstoppable" S. White, W. Pentz Diplo, J. Hill - 3:32
10 "I'm a Lady" S. White, J. Hill,
C. Feinstein, T. Andrew
J. Hill, S. White Trouble Andrew 3:43
11 "Anne" S. White, J. Hill, D. Taylor J. Hill, S. White, Switch - 3:28
12 "You'll Find a Way"
(Switch & Sinden remix)
S. White, J. Hill, C. Feinstein Switch, Sinden - 3:12
13 "Your Voice"
(Japan CD bonus track)
S. White, C. Pusey,
M. Schleck, C. Treece
J. Hill, S. White - 3:58
14 "L.E.S. Artistes" (Switch remix)
(Japan CD bonus track)
S. White, J. Hill Switch - 5:14
  • The US CD version of "Anne" fades out at 3:28, while the international version runs 3:43 and is a slightly alternate mix.
  • The Japan CD contains two bonus tracks: "Your Voice" and "L.E.S. Artistes (Switch Remix)"; it also features the 3:43 version of "Anne".
  • The song "Unstoppable" grew in popularity after being featured in the viral video "Guy starts dance party". Many witnesses filmed a man at the 2009 Sasquatch! Music Festival dancing enthusiastically by himself to a live performance of the song, prompting dozens of other attendees to join. By the end of the three-minute song there were over a hundred people dancing in the mob. "Shove It" was featured in Friday the 13th (2009 film)

Charts and certifications[edit]

Chart (2008) Peak position Certification
Belgian Albums Chart[31] 25
Dutch Albums Chart[31] 34
French Albums Chart[31] 110
Irish Albums Chart[31] 45
UK Albums Chart[32] 26 Silver
U.S. Billboard 200[33] 74
U.S. Billboard Top Electronic Albums[34] 2
U.S. Billboard Independent Albums[35] 6

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Catalog #
United States[36] April 29, 2008 Downtown Records 70034
United Kingdom[37] May 12, 2008 Atlantic Records 5144283082
Canada[38] September 16, 2008 Warner Music Canada 2934058


  • Vocals – Santi White
  • Featured vocalists – Spank Rock, Trouble Andrew
  • Bass – John Hill
  • Guitar – Chris Feinstein, J. Salomao, John Hill, Santi White
  • Horns – Alfonzo Hunter, K. Louis, L. Benjamin
  • Keyboards – Alex Lipsen, John Morrical, John Hill, Santi White
  • Organ – John Morrical
  • Percussion – Chuck Treece, Mike Dillon


  • Executive producer: John Hill, Santi White
  • Producers:
    • John Hill (tracks 1–4, 6–11)
    • Santi White (tracks 1–4, 7, 10, 11)
    • Diplo (tracks 6, 8, 9)
    • Disco D (track 3)
    • Freq Nasty (track 5)
    • Jonnie "Most" Davis (tracks 1, 2)
    • Switch (tracks 2–5, 8, 11, 12)
  • Mastering: Ted Jensen
  • Programming: Disco D, Dr. Israel, John Hill
  • Artwork: Isabelle Lumpkin


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