Childish Gambino - 3.15.20
Mar 22, 2020 (updated Mar 23, 2020)
58
There are certain artists that I admire from decades long past, and there are artists who I have a special admiration for in this current generation for their iconic persona and ingenuity; one of those being Childish Gambino/Donald Glover. Everything the man does I find interesting, I remember being entranced with "Awaken My Love!" a bold reimagining of an experimental funk aesthetic that although some saw it as pretentious, I took it as a refreshing display of nostalgia that few others were at that time doing. Fast forward to 2018 when he flipped the internet on its head with the "This Is America" music video of enormous proportions of relevancy, as it was one of the most important musical statements of the 2010s without a doubt. From there, he released his own collaboration with Adidas, performing at Coachella, and debuted his own short-film with Rihanna "Guava Island". Donald seems to slide into the limelight at the most appropriate of moments, only to then disappear for a time. Now, he's back releasing music under the cover of night in the middle of a global pandemic.

3.15.20 is quite the smorgasbord of sounds; I was personally hoping that after This is America, Donald would head in a direction closer in relation to that song, which can be seen here, but what it is closest to in sound, is predominantly the summer pack he released back in 2018. While those tracks weren't terrible I found them to lack the agility and attention-grabbing features that TIA boasted. This album is not completely built around the influence of that breezy sound it is much broader in its display of sound. On the album, we've got an assortment of genres ranging from funk to disco, rap to RnB, a host of post-production effects: autotune and glitch. While a good portion of the album is pleasing I can't help but be slightly confused about the whole release of this album. For one, there is no cover art, not a definitive title, and hardly any song-titles aside from Algorithm and Time. The whole rollout of this album has been personally disorienting which I'm sure others are experiencing. It furthers the whole discussion of how the strange ways in which music is currently being released/

3.15.20 is very incohesive, there is no general sound, no lyrically underlying concept or theme, no direction, just a collection of 12 tracks that range from sometimes enjoyable to hard-hitting, while other tracks are confusing and overlong. From the icy yet groovy "Algorhythm" an intense yet chilling track that features Donald rapping in this deep guttural cadence; it's a refreshing track, to say the least. Time features these sequenced beats that are very resonant and organic sounding but are actually electronic, they resemble that of Japanese-style percussion instruments. The album also features Ariana Grande on the chorus, and while it is a quality track I would say it overstays its welcome as it lasts over five minutes. Other standouts are 24.19 with its ominous and clinking beat but also features Awaken, My Love type vocals, the completely disorienting mess that is 32.22, the fourth track 12.38 features a verse from 21 Savage but other than that it is unfortunately quite forgettable. I think the album suffers mainly from its lack of direction, which then leads to, in the end, an overall forgettable experience (other than a few completely satisfyingly rambunctious tracks), in fact, I can feel many of the in-between songs slipping away from me presently. Contrary to the best tracks are a handful of honestly embarrassing tracks such as 35.31 which sounds like some sort of educational toddler-oriented kooky exercise song. The boring and uneventful 42.26, and the yawn-inducing opener 0.00.

I think the obvious point behind this album was to deliver something completely left-field and experimental, but I don't feel as though those elements paid off, and while I enjoyed a small handful of tracks, the albums overlong and extended cut tend to become increasingly tedious over several listens. 3.15.20 lacks the focus and intention behind Awaken, My Love and even the single This is America, ultimately ending in a project that in its best moments is in the result of the production, and when the production is not on par, monotony abounds.

Best Tracks: Algorhythm, Time, 24.19, 53.49

Worst Tracks: 35.31
5 Comments
Mar 22, 2020
You're the only person who put 35.31 in the worst track section........ hot take.
Mar 22, 2020
r/woosh
Mar 22, 2020
Well stated, bruv.
Mar 22, 2020
good review bro, explained yourself WELL
Mar 22, 2020
@daFigz @hiphopcritiques I appreciate it!
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