Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr The record always comes around again. For as long as there has been music there has been artists borrowing, repeated, remixing, rehashing and innovating upon sounds that came before. On her latest work, 99 Cents, Santigold displays a broad range of stylistic choices while never straying far from punchy modern pop music. Similarities with artist such as M.I.A. and the myriad of projects that Diplo has been involved with are evident. A synthesizer bass forms a consistent theme throughout the opening tracks. Played with quick punchy ska-style notes, both “Can’t Get Enough of Myself” and “Big Boss Big Time Business” provide a high energy introduction to a record which strikes a good balance. Slower tracks like “Chasing Shadows” and “Walking in a Circle” still maintain an aggressive low-frequency boom while coming off feeling far more down-tempo and dark. On the latter, there are elements of dubstep while remaining just shy of anything that might alienate the pop crowd. The staple double-time, autotuned voice over — because we haven’t heard enough of that — turns the track to a wall-shaking boomer while Santigold’s vocals simply provide backing and fade into the background while the bass does all the talking. “Who Be Lovin’ Me” features the odd and simply terrible vocals of iLoveMakonnen. If you ever wondered why autotuning features so heavily in his Drake collaboration “Tuesday” or why it’s such a prominent feature in modern pop and R&B, this song is your answer. He can’t sing. It used to be said that Bob Dylan was a terrible singer and yet now we look upon his voice as something unique, magical and unforgettable. By the time I have finished writing this paragraph, however, I will have forgotten iLoveMakonnen’s contribution to this track. I choose to focus instead on the way Santigold saves it by singing in tune to a rattling trap hi-hat. “Rendezvous Girl” takes a different direction all together into rehashing some old teen-pop and disco tropes. The way she uses her voice here, however, is truly innovative. This track has a wonderfully distant tone and the chorus shifts her into the sort of falsetto which hasn’t been heard until now. The percussion on “Before the Fire” features a bongo player lightly tapping through a standard boom-bip rhythm and minimal piano chords. It’s in singing the refrain here where the track really opens up and becomes an instant favourite. Moody and dark, Santigold sings “I was burned the fire” among a choir of ghostly backup singers. “All I Got” is the perfect antidote to the soul-destroying gloom of the previous track. Ringing in like a slightly less chipper cousin of “Pass the Dutchie,” this guitar pluck-driven track holds up with the best pop anthems of 2016. Easily the first track on the record which will see heavy rotation on most people’s playlists, 99 Cents a solid record which fans will undoubtedly love. Would it invite in new audiences or appeal broadly or virally to the masses? Doubtful. There’s nothing here we haven’t heard recently in terms of style but what is notable and worth your time is the quality and cadence of Santigold’s vocals. 99 Cents seems a fitting title given the amount people are paying for single track downloads this year. Frankly, it’s worth far more than 99 Cents even if you cherry-pick the best moments and highlight them in iTunes.