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Best Tracks of 2008 No.2
NME - Top 150 from 1996 to 2011:
No.121 - Bereaved following the death of her father, Philadelphia-dwelling Santi White traveled to New York, following the Madonna trail, to make it as a musician. And it’s here we find her, with her defenses up, restless, singing about those moments where your personality feels annihilated by a big city (“What am I here for? To disappear is all,” she sings in one of the song's most affecting lines). The riff itself is pure NYC: a little bit VU, a lot Yeah Yeah Yeahs. A pure moment captured perfectly on her first (and best) single.
On the face of things, Santi White (aka Santogold, now Santigold) would not seem like a person who lacks confidence. Yet there is an undercurrent of self-doubt that ripples through her 2008 breakout single "L.E.S. Artistes", providing crucial emotional ballast to her buoyant and acerbic songcraft. Though the song takes aim at the poseurs she might see lurking around her Lower East Side neighborhood, lines like "What am I here for?" and "I hope it will be worth what I give up" reflect someone not afraid of turning the same critical eye towards herself, glancing back at avenues not taken while still maintaining her self-assured swagger. --Matthew Murphy