“I’m my biggest fan and I can’t get enough,” Santi White sings in her opening track, “Can’t Get Enough of Myself “, of album 99 Cents, set to be released February 26 via Atlantic Recording. The electronic pop funk of Santigold combined with the artfully done social commentary is not unlike other pop culture greats Janelle Monae or even Beyonce. Feminist undertones and a critical stance on the nature of consumer media define this album, starting with the album art–see a packaged Santi White for sale at the price of 99 cents.
Besides the catchiness of her songs, there is so much relevance in her lyrics. She preaches about maintaining positive self image while avoiding the manufactured brand that comes with being so consumed by social media. “I’m my biggest fan and I can’t get enough” has a double meaning here. In one sense she is bitingly calling out this industry that invents these disingenuous brand identities, but in another she is is calling for people to appreciate themselves more.
Electronic pop is the connecting thread of sounds through this album, but White also experiments with other flavors in her music. As opposed to being your typical streamlined pop artist, she throws some reggae into “Big Boss Big Time Business” and “All I Got”; she throws some heady rock riffs into “Outside the War”, and some of today’s rap elements like snare drum loops into “Run From the Races”and “Who Be Lovin’ Me”.
Even the Santigold website is an artfully done commentary on consumerism. Everywhere you drag your mouse, 99 cent price labels pop up and videos of fake advertisements created by White open on the page in layers. One such advertisement is an infomercial for the Santigold mirror which actually changes your appearance in its reflection to be more “beautiful”. “Say goodbye to the banshee in the mirror,” White says in a mock-chipper voice, in reference to her cheerleader pep-esque song “Banshee”.
Through 99 Cents, White creates a caricature of modern day media. Her triumphant album talks about how to defy the standards of pop culture and how to love yourself. “Got my name up in lights right now,” she screams in “Who Be Lovin Me”. She’s right, but she has found fame for all the best reasons.