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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“42.26,” originally titled “Feels Like Summer” which dropped back in July 2018 is a laid-back, breezy, easy-to-listen-to summer song reminiscing a time when everyone wasn’t cooped up in their homes trying to avoid spreading an infectious disease. Although soothing on the ears, there’s hints of a technological apocalypse hidden throughout the song with lines like “men who made machines that want what they decide, parents tryna tell their children please slow down,” circling back to similar ideas previous songs have hit on. There’s also lines about bees dying and global warming painting this picture of a nice summer day while there’s absolute chaos happening all around. This is a very hopeless song wrapped up with a hopeful instrumental and I am all for the inclusion of this track on the album.

“47.48” is a song in the same vein of “Awaken, My Love!” entering the throwback soul, R&B genre with a funky bass and a clavinet piano reminiscent of a Stevie Wonder track. Gambino seems to be alluding to all these different acts of violence throughout the verses, but reassuring to the listener not to worry because “you’ll get through it.” This seems like a song directed towards Glover’s real-life children and reminding them of their worth in the world and to never give up hope. There is even a feature from Legend Glover, his son, on the tailend of the track where he’s asking his father, “do you love yourself?” It’s a very sweet and intimate moment on the album that lets us as the listener into a part of Glover’s world that is usually locked up tight. 

The final track of the album, and possibly the last Childish Gambino track ever is “53.49.” The track starts off with this aggressive vocal inflection that I haven’t heard in any previously recorded Gambino songs, but is equivalent to the energy in his live performances meshing genres of rock, R&B, and soul. The drums are heavy and funky as they give the listener one final dance before this entire journey is over. With the soulful chorus, “you do what you wanna do,” it sounds like Gambino is sending his fans off on a positive message and thanking them for all the years they shared connecting to his music. 

So for my final thoughts, I didn’t hate this album. However, there was never a point in my multiple listens of 3.15.20 that clicked for me in comparison to other Gambino projects. I can’t help but think of how Anthony Fantano gave Kendrick Lamar’s album To Pimp a Butterfly a 10/10 and then DAMN a 7/10. It’s difficult as an artist to continue creating your best work that resonates with all your fans when you’ve already created your best work, which I feel like before 3.15.20, Childish Gambino already has. There are moments that I enjoy on this album, but more often than not, there are times when I am left wanting more whether it’s from a production standpoint or simply just wanting more of a bang. Especially being a long-time fan of Childish Gambino, going into this album with the presumption that this is possibly the last time we will ever hear music from Donald Glover, I could not help but set the bar incredibly high only to have my expectations unmet. If 3.15.20 is simply a detour for an even grander conclusion to the Childish Gambino legacy, I will consider this a tiny speedbump to hurdle over. However, if this is the curtain call on Childish Gambino, then perhaps it’s best for Glover to let music take the backseat for a little bit and focus on other artistic ventures. I’m giving 3.15.20 6 blank album covers out of 10. 

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