A review of Childish Gambino’s ‘3.15.20’
By James Wetmore, Contributor
With the quarantine slowly driving everyone stir crazy and bored of everything in their house, Childish Gambino—or Donald Glover—has kept fans curious.
On March 15, a mysterious link was shared under the name “Donald Glover Presents,” playing a collection of songs on loop. The website was taken down 24 hours later, and nothing more was heard until midnight on March 22—when the collection was released on streaming services under the title 3.15.20.
The album marks another musical shift in style from Glover, going from a more R&B/Soul style on his last album “Awaken, My Love!” to a much more experimental industrial style—while still containing more radio-friendly hits such as the track “42.26”(previously released under the title “Feels Like Summer”). Tracks like “Algorhythm” and “19.10” are the best example of his new hard-hitting, metallic industrial sound. The tracks have distorted drums, vocals, and bass lines present throughout. It seems like Mr. Glover himself has gone a little stir crazy due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has forced everyone to spend time with their family.
Glover still has the ability to make bangers. One of such is the song “35.31,” which bears a resemblance to the opening of “This Is America.” Another bop is “53.49,” an aggressive song that almost sounds like early-album Kanye. It’s like Glover is showing the public that though he can make songs to get you hyped and ready to go buck wild, but he’d rather experiment, try new things, and break out of his comfort zone than be forced to make songs that are purely commercial.
The album still has some problems. The aforementioned distortion was also present on some other tracks where it doesn’t mesh quite as well, such as “47.48.” Some of the messages Glover discusses during the album can come off a little preachy—some definitely did not hit as hard as others. It’s certainly not his most polished or concise album, but there’s still a lot of fun to be had despite its envelope-pushing experimentation.
In the midst of a very confusing and stressful time, Donald Glover releases an album to try and accompany the feelings associated with the quarantine while also offering songs that are able to get you up, moving, and grooving to try and replace your worried thoughts. Some songs on 3.15.20 have the potential to be classic party anthems, while others may become the songs you come back to in six months since they didn’t have a large impact upon first hearing, only to find out that they are diamonds in the rough. All in all, this album is a must-listen during the quarantine because what else are you going to do? Clean your room for the tenth time? Nuh-uh, not on my watch.
Pull: It seems like Mr. Glover himself has gone a little stir crazy