Thursday, February 4, 2010


Gracing us with sassy hook-lines and mismatched sound effects from the not-too-far-back-in-the-distant past is Santigold*: the “M.I.A. wannabe” to some, the “reallyreallygoodartistIcan’twaituntilmoremoremore” to others. Needless to say I’m with the latter, and as you might have guessed, it’s not just thanks to the music…

From the bite in her lyrics to her eccentric fashion choices, Santigold seems to be living in a world of carefree paper cutouts and D.I.Y. photo editing. At least that’s just what the cover of her self-titled LP Santogold (as spelled on MY iTunes at least) is telling me.

Designed by artist Isabelle Lumpkin, the album jacket takes on the personality of a demented four-year-old’s cut-and-paste project—in the best, indie way possible, of course. The horizontal reflection of the photo provides at least a slight grown up sense of depth with crude craftsmanship.

The photo is candid and almost unflattering, letting it’s muted blue hues contrast sharply against the piled gold spilling from Santigold’s mouth. Some may see it as an artistic approach to deeper political issue, or even just a play on words in the album title itself (santoGOLD).

But methinks it could be a little broader than that. It’s unlike an artist such as Santigold to create a message with such a narrow answer, eliminating all other possible forms of discussion. At first glance this album cover might look all over the place, just another “extremist” attempt to be all things wrong and ironic, but when you really examine the art itself (and other works of the artist) you begin to realize that there really is a method to the madness.

Tracks like “My Superman” and “Anne,” push the album into a dark, almost twisted place. On the other hand, “Say Aha” and Bud Light Lime tune “Creator” hold a lighter, more innocent feel. Both conflicting sentiments can be drawn from the art of Santogold.

Her posture in the photo is meek—almost to the point of satirical, and the typography in the title looks eerily childlike. Yet the dead look in her face is haunting, empty and ominous.

An interesting cover that will always catch my attention, I can’t help but feel a strong draw to it every time I see it. Its elements are simple and marginally archaic, but Santogold contains that one special element that makes album art so much more than what meets the eye.

*Disclaimer/side note/whatever you want to call it: I still don’t like spelling it like that, but if it’s the PC term that will keep ACRN out of a lawsuit then I’m happy to oblige.

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