A Speedbump to Hurdle Over – Childish Gambino “3.15.20” Album Review

A Speedbump to Hurdle Over – Childish Gambino “3.15.20” Album Review

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Moving on, we have the track “19:10” which is an upbeat, groovy dance track with a driving kick drum prominent throughout. The chorus is shimmery and silky with Gambino singing “to be beautiful is to be hunted” commenting on this idea of how no real situation can prepare one for any level of fame and how they deal with it. In his now famous Instagram hotel notes moment, Glover was crying out his struggles of being an artist living in a world where people demand constant content. It’s a never ending cycle, and many of the recurring themes that keep showing up in Gambino songs is how time is fleeting and nothing lasts forever implying that even fame is finite and has an expiration date. 

“24.19” is the longest track of the album sitting at 7:59 in length. This song is similar in style to Gambino’s 2016 hit single “Redbone” with a slow-paced R&B instrumental with Glover singing in a high-pitched filter. This is a very sweet, endearing song addressing a lover with the repetition of “sweet thing,” and questioning why this person still loves him even though he always makes them cry. The second part of the song rounds out very nicely when harps can be heard introducing the next phase of the song where Gambino repeatedly thanks the listener and says “I love you.” Whether directed towards the person the song is for or the audience listening to the album is definitely up for interpretation, but it does feel like a very gentle and gracious moment on 3.15.20

With “32.22,” we go back to stylings of “Algorythm” with another futuristic, aggressive banger that sounds like Gambino is running around a bonfire, chanting and getting ready for battle. The song is abrasive and in your face, and the lyrics, although difficult to comprehend because the effects and echo on the vocals contain a lot of imagery that alludes to fire, everything being bad, and warlords. This track almost takes a page out of the Yeezus handbook with the low-end synths, high-energy vocals, and overall, being an excellent song to mosh and get a little sweaty to. 

“35.31” is an upbeat more optimistic sounding track with a fun, even children sing-a-long type chorus that goes, “Little Foot, Big Foot, get out the way.” This sounds like a song Glover wanted to make for his kids to jump up and dance around to without necessarily needing to look too much into the lyrics. The funky, springy guitar is very pleasant on the ears and is an overall breezy, relaxing song, instrumentally. The irony of the instrumental being so uplifting is that the lyrics talk about a young boy trapping and making money by selling drugs. It reminds me of 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop” and how inappropriate that song was to be playing on the radio, but nonetheless, I remember knowing a majority of those lyrics when I was younger. 

“39.28” is unfortunately another head scratcher on the album. The entire song consists of stacked up layers of vocals from Gambino singing acapella the refrain of “Why go to the party?” in an almost “Bohemian Rhapsody” style harmony with not as big of a payoff. Gambino’s vocal effects sound like he’s trying to sing every other note but the autotune keeps dragging his voice back down to keep it in place. The song isn’t terrible. I do like the themes being commented on in this track like death and mortality, and the line “Grief is a standing ocean, I never swam unless you did.” That’s honestly a perfect line. But overall, this is a skip for me on the album. 

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