First, The Weeknd, and now Donald Glover?
This week could not get any better for those of us who love music and need something to get us over this quarantine period. Abel was able to deliver with After Hours and just days later, Childish Gambino dropped a surprise record that was teased on the day of the title of the album, March 15th, 2020.
Because The Internet and Awaken, My Love! are the two of the most well-received albums of the 2010s with the latter understandably because Awaken, My Love! saw a shift of tone for the rapper as Glover transitioned to a psychedelic funk, neo-soul record and was singing on every track on the album. It was his most mature project to date and one that shot Glover into the mainstream of not only music, but entertainment as he would go on to acting roles in TV shows such as Atlanta and movies such as Solo: A Star Wars Story.
2018 was a huge year for Glover as he would drop three incredible singles with the summer pack of “Summertime Magic” and “Feels Like Summer”, and one of the best singles of the entire 2010s, “This Is America”. Gambino could go nowhere but up and whenever he was going to release that next album, everyone had the hopes of it being an all-time classic. So here we are, three-and-a-half years later with a new Childish Gambino record, and unfortunately, all expectations were not met.
That’s not to say that 3.15.20 was a failure, but this album does not make sense in the slightest.
3.15.20 is Gambino’s continuation at being experimental with elements of pop, neo-soul, electric soul, funk, and at some points, hip-hop, but this album comes off as pompous because it feels like Gambino thought he could do no wrong whenever he decided to release his next project.
The opening track “0.00” is just obscure nothing.
“Algorhythm” is easily the best track on this record with a catchy hook and some fun electro-pop and glitch elements to it. Unfortunately, it does come off as fake deep as the word “algorithm” is changed to match “rhythm” in a song that deals with how electronics are ruining relationships.
“Time” is Gambino’s crossover with mainstream pop as Ariana Grande makes an appearance. Unfortunately, this song falters with the egregiously long six-minute runtime, and that would be the downfall of this project. The pacing is brutally tedious.
Half of the album has tracks over five minutes in length, which is just dumb and only an artist with the mystique, charisma and talent of the late Prince could pull something off like that.
There are highlights here and there with a nice feature from 21 Savage on the back end of “12.38”, “Feels Like Summer” is on here for some reason, and the closing track “53.49” is a perfectly fine closer.
What is the reasoning behind this record? I don’t know. I feel like what have a bunch of rushed and unfinished works that do nothing for Gambino. The whole album rubs off as a bunch of demo reels, which hopefully could mean we get a focused album later this year that actually equates to what Gambino has dropped recently. WHERE IS “HUMAN SACRIFICE”?????
It’s not a total failure and I can appreciate Glover for going out and trying to do something off the beaten path, but this effort just rubbed me the wrong way and I’m really not here for it.
Richest Tracks: “Algorhythm”, “12.38”, “42.26”, “53.49”
Worst Track: “32.22”