A pinnacle of the era now dubbed indie sleaze, Santigold’s 2008 debut was the soundtrack to smearing your eyeliner, scrolling Tumblr and dressing in grunge and glitz. The Santi White pictured on the cover of Santigold, dead-eyed, gaze fixed on the viewer while she vomits gold, represents the epitome of the late-aughts aesthetic.
But White, performing as Santogold at the time, was not trying to be the poster child for anything other than her uncompromising art. “I just knew that I wanted to do whatever I wanted, because I hadn’t,” she said in a cover story for FADER the same year Santigold was released. And what she wanted was to make 12 tracks that pushed her rock foundation — inspired by bands like the Cocteau Twins, the Smiths and the Pixies, according to that same story — to its limit, coating her punk bona fides in a glitter bomb of pop, reggae and dub sounds.