Beyond the spirit
Released on September 9th, 2022, Santigold’s fourth album Spirituals came out on all platforms. This album features ten impactful tracks that mix beats usually seen in more R&B music with pop-oriented vocals featuring Santi White. Santigold’s decades of experience in the music industry show what she is capable of as a performer, composer and lyricist. With experience in a variety of genre work, Santigold is not afraid of mixing and matching different ideas to create a final product that is mesmerizing.
Of the singles pre-released to gauge hype for the upcoming album, “High Priestess” immediately shows what White is truly capable of in her long career in the music industry. With over 1 million listens on Spotify alone in a brief amount of time, the song is a true success. As for the title itself, the high priestess is a tarot card that appears in the major arcana. Santigold is able to acknowledge this in the lyricism of this song, singing, “Now bow down, don’t freak out in the presence of a queen” which could be a reference to the high priestess’s power in the tarot deck of female energy. The track also features experimental synth and electronic harmonies with the voice, which is something that is ever-present in the rest of the album. The alluring undertone of the lyrics along with the music to help create a hypnotic mood, it is clear to see Santigold’s work crafting the album in action.
Currently, the most popular track on Spirituals is “Shake” and features tactile and electrifying rhythm immediately when listening. The song itself is almost inviting listeners to get up and dance. Although the lyrics are nothing special, the tune shines in its rhythmic movements featuring syncopations and the use of percussion complementing more staccato synth underneath the lead vocals.
Other standouts that feature similar experimental use of rhythm, as well as hypnotic undertones, include tracks such as “Ushers of The New World” as well as “No Paradise.” Both of these songs utilize instrumentation dramatically different but still manage to create a song that is masterfully composed. For “No Paradise” specifically, the song immediately starts with the use of open parallel 5th harmonies, leading to an open and alluring sound. Later on in the track, the song adds in an almost reggae-style percussive syncopation, a style that can also be seen in “Shake” as well. “Ushers of The New World” focuses more on the first beat in the measure by using a strong bass and clap pattern throughout the track. This added intensity of the drums and accompanied bassline helps extenuate the theming of the song itself.
Overall, with strong elements of theming complimented by the instrumentation and compositional choices, Santigold’s newest release Spirituals is able to hypnotize audiences into wanting more. With witty lyrics and the use of distortional editing and mixing, it is clear that Santigold has a clear vision. Spirituals’ use of genre mixing and taking risks does not go unnoticed and will continue to be a standout for the artist.