By Zachary Swickey
Most artists in today’s mainstream music world churn albums out pretty regularly, which is a necessity considering the wealth of new acts being discovered on the daily (mostly thanks to YouTube). It’s not as common nowadays for a talented funk/pop/rap sensation like Santigold to leave fans waiting nearly four years for a new album (especially a follow-up to a strong debut), but that’s what is happening.
We’re not hatin’ on Santi, we love her, which is why we are hurting for some new music. Who else can turn a mere mortal man into a dancing god? Her guest cuts this year with the Beastie Boys and SNL-troupe The Lonely Island just have us salivating even more. Rap circles were wildly enthusiastic about her killer debut-album track “Brooklyn (Go Hard),” which was produced by Kanye West and eventually sampled by Jay-Z. So it wasn’t very shocking when earlier this year she inked a deal with none other than Jay’s Roc Nation. It sure seemed like a new album was imminent.
A short month later – via Hova’s unique lifestyle blog, Life + Times – Santi released "Go," which was supposed to be the first single from her sophomore record, tentatively being dubbed American Dreaming. The stellar track features guest vocals from Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs – adding some indie cred. The tune is yet another catchy anthem in the Santi canon as she sings, “People want my power and they want my station.”
It’s been seven whole months since the release of that single, and we’ve yet to hear another one let alone see a release date for American Dreaming. For most of 2011, Santi’s been on the road or in the studio, but we still only managed to dig up two interviews with the singer revealing details about the new album.
In a June interview with Billboard, Santigold shed some light on to the album’s delays: “By December 2010, I thought I was finished. I was like, ‘I’m done!’ I never really had the experience of labels and stuff, because last time I made the record and then got a deal… I didn’t have to deal with people talking about singles and stuff before I was even done with the creative process. That was new, and annoying. So for the last six months I’ve been trying to tie up loose ends and do a couple more songs.” (Ouch, can’t say we’re thrilled to hear that, but if fans recall, it took rapper Lupe Fiasco a year for his label to let him release Lasers -- an album that debuted at No. 1 upon its eventual release.)
In an October interview with Dazed Digital, Santi discussed the theme of the album at length… but still provided no release date. It appears that she’s not a fan of the “instant gratification” that she feels society has become obsessed with (well hopefully she doesn’t read this then!). When asked about her concept of the “New American Dream” she responds, “The New American Dream is to become rich and famous by happenstance, and to get there with as little work or talent as possible.” (Admittedly, can’t really argue with her too much there.)
Well, what about the music itself? Santi had this to say: “I’m really happy with it musically. Finally. It’s a blend of all sorts of things that don’t necessarily go together. That’s who I am – there’s no one way.” I can vouch for that, as I witnessed the singer perform at least a half-dozen new quirky cuts at her first stateside stop this year, the Austin City Limits Music Festival. A drum line-accompanied track featured a scratching guitar-lick as Santi sung, “You can make it alone only if you try,” which is the lyrical positivity we love to hear from her. As far as it being a “blend of all sorts,” during another new song at ACL, I wrote down in my notes: “Crazy jungle reggae with some kind of foreign chanting." Need I say more?
We clearly won’t get American Dreaming in 2011, but a release must be upon us soon since the singer tweeted about a video shoot on October 30, and her album cover photo shoot on November 7. We’ll just try not to get our hopes up too much until we get an official date for the oft-delayed effort. Santi, please don’t leave us waiting much longer!