Monday, August 13th, 2018

Santigold – Run the Road

A decade on from her debut…


Alfred Soto: Accepting her as an uneven but estimable recorder of terrific singles, I should write something at length about what Santigold does well: conveying a sense of beat-happy dread (“The Keepers,” “Disparate Youth”). “Run the Road” is a minute too long, and while Ricky Blaze’s synth-powered dancehall is easy on the ears it doesn’t impress itself on the mind.

Jibril Yassin: Hearing Santigold sing over production that’s more static compared to what she’s used in the past is almost disorienting — you keep expecting a change-up somewhere. She hasn’t lost her skill for hooks but the disappointing electro-dancehall mix leaves you wondering what if.

Will Adams: I understand that mixtapes generally connote less studio polish or label fuckery than official releases, which certainly can have its benefits. But for an artist who’s proven how adept she is at creating genre-hopping records that don’t feel scattered but instead exhilarating, it’s disappointing to get a new one that’s a series of slipshod dancehall tracks. Especially when the lead single sounds like “Alejandro” passed through a sieve.

Katherine St Asaph: I’d hoped the album title 99¢ wouldn’t be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Nortey Dowuona: Whistling, rapid sirens echo over the low-slung bass and hopping synths. Santigold hugs the curved, soft drums coolly, sometimes tunelessly.

Tim de Reuse: Over a muted blend of swirling saw waves and ghostly pads, Santigold sounds faraway and listless, never straining her voice to higher registers or offering much dynamic range. Four minutes of that sounds like a bore, but there’s so much quiet detail in the instrumentation that it’s easy to get swept up in, and the melodic hook of the chorus is incredibly strong.

Ashley John: “Run the Road” is fascinating in that it’s undoubtably catchy but also spacey enough to give my mind room to wander. The melancholy pace winds slowly and then snaps back in place with a punchy high hat. Santigold sounds like nodding off in the humid sticky heat of an August, knowing change is soon to come but only seeing its blurred figure in the distance ahead. 

Vikram Joseph: A cool breeze on one of those stifling inner-city summer days we’ve had so many of recently, “Run The Road” is a frisky little gem. It’s imbued with a deceptively easy, rolling swagger, all ska-tinged bounce and ay-ay-ohs, but there’s a steely determination behind it; “Flash that smile, it’s an industry of service” could easily have been a line from “The Opener,” Camp Cope’s bracing skewering of music industry misogyny. Also, if you’re going to name-drop yourself at the start of a song you’d better do it with style, and, let’s be fair, Santigold absolutely nails it.

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