- While buzz built furiously around Santogold's 2008 debut, writers longing to seem in the know could not resist comparing the New York City-based singer/songwriter to M.I.A. The appraisal proved both blessing and curse; at the time, the Sri Lankan wunderkind was indie fan gold and any connection could not hurt exposure, but it also opened her to the inevitable (and grossly unfair) accusations of being a carbon copy. The two do share a producer, have frequently performed together, and on many tracks like the frenetic "Shove It" and the swirlingly hypnotic "Creator," the similarity is undeniable.
- However, the mass of SANTOGOLD owes more to the reggae, no wave, punk, and synth pop coming out as the N.Y.C. of the '70s crashed into the '80s. On opening track and debut single "L.E.S. Artistes," Santogold channels Dale Bozzio over whirling, confectionary, nostalgic pop reminiscent of Missing Persons, while on the sinister "My Superman," she summons up shadows of Siouxsie Sioux. While her music owes to many sources, she places her own indelible spin on her creations and re-creations, opening herself up for one more comparison with M.I.A., releasing a record that is one of the most talked about of its year.
Rolling Stone (p.83) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The touchstone for her tough rhyming and sultry singing is the U.K.'s 2 Tone movement, which mixed punk, ska and dub into a post-racial pop idyll."
Rolling Stone (p.89) - Ranked #6 in Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums Of 2008 -- "[T]he most ear-opening debut of 2008."
Spin (p.112) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Appeasing her inner freak while summoning the hooks to go pop, this well-connected genre-bender transmits the results in multiple soundclash mutations..."
Spin (p.52) - Ranked #6 in Spin's "40 Best Albums Of 2008" -- "Santi White concocts her own dance-floor ultramodernity, incorporating '80s new wave, reggae, and coconut-flavored electro."
Entertainment Weekly (p.119) - "[I]n an era that retro-fetishizes rock and whitewashed pop, SANTOGOLD feels both raw and real." -- Grade: A-
Q (Magazine) (p.146) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "White lends her throaty tones to reggae-rock on 'You'll Find A Way'....An album front-loaded with highlights..."
Clash (magazine) (p.117) - "From the rolling dub-punches of 'Shove It' to the Boney M-gone cyber-pop strut of 'Say Aha,' SANTOGOLD is a thrilling rollercoaster ride..."
Clash (magazine) (p.69) - Ranked #08 in Clash's "The 40 Best Albums of 2008" -- "[P]unked up, dubbed down indie screamers."