“3.15.20” Album Review

Album Cover for Childish Gambino's

Album Cover for Childish Gambino's "3.15.20"

Carson Zorn, Writer

On Monday, Childish Gambino, known better as Donald Glover, dropped a surprise album titled “3.15.20.” The title is a reference to last Sunday when Glover streamed the album briefly on the website Donaldgloverpresents.com, but he stopped the stream soon thereafter. But on Monday the album was released to all platforms, with the majority of the 12 songs simply being named after the time stamp at which they start in the album as a whole. As a huge Childish Gambino fan I was very excited to hear new music from him and couldn’t wait to see what this somewhat mysterious album held. Here is my track-by-track review of “3.15.20”

“0.00:”

The album starts off with one of the more basic tracks on the album. The lyrics are very simple, repeating all of two words. The heavy synthesizer and interesting production make up for the lack of lyrics, however the song does feel a bit drawn out, which is a theme of this whole album. I can’t judge this song too harshly though, because it is clearly meant to be an intro for the album and nothing more.

“Algorythm:”

I had heard a lot of talk about this song when Gambino started performing it live at concerts, yet I stayed away from watching any videos in hope that the song would be on the new album. Thankfully it was, and honestly, this is probably my favorite song on the album. The cool drum beat mixed with the synthetic sound of the song creates a very nice backing track. What really made me like this track was the interesting vocals throughout. The track begins with a grunge, robotic sounding Glover then shifts into his more well known style of singing for the chorus. The sharp contrast throughout the song makes this quite an alluring track that I have frequently listened to since the album’s release. 

“Time:”

This is the second but not last song on the record that suffers from being about one or two minutes too long. But the first four minutes of this song are genuinely really good. The production value is great and the somewhat altered trap sounding beat along with the guitar throughout the song create a really nice sounding song. Both Glover’s and Grande’s vocals are phenomenal, and the song probably would’ve been my favorite on the album if it wasn’t about two minutes too long.

“12.38:”

This is where the album starts to drop in quality for a stretch of songs. I love Gambino and 21 Savage so it hurts me to say this, but this is definitely my least favorite song on the album, and honestly one of my least favorite songs I’ve ever heard. There are no redeeming qualities to this track. The production is sloppy, the vocals are monotone and the whole song just sounds incredibly boring. I really can’t name one thing I like about the song, and relistening to it for this review felt like a chore.

“19.10:”

This is the last bright spot of the album until about four songs later. The beat is really nice and Glover’s vocals, although layered, are very good on this song and the falsetto he hits during the chorus is great. This is one of the easiest songs on the album to recommend to anyone. The guitar riff along with the synth creates a very cool groove throughout the whole song, and even though it’s almost five minutes, it does not over extend its welcome. It gives me Michael Jackson vibes, but Glover also manages to add his own bit of flair to it.

“24.19:”

This is where the album starts to get really bad. This song is eight minutes of some of the worst music Glover has probably ever made. The vocal sound is like a lesser version of “Redbone”, and the production value couldn’t be any more boring. I don’t think Glover even knew where this song was going when he sat down to record it. On top of all that, the last minute of this song was maybe the most confusing and uncomfortable minute of my life. This song is really bad.

“32.22:”

I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but this song is an absolute train wreck, and I hated listening to it the first time, and even more the second time. I think Glover tried to get too experimental with this track and it did not pay off. The whole song just sounds like a jumbled, unedited mess. I don’t know if I can really even call this a song. It’s a terrible ‘song’ that I will never be listening to again.

“35.31:”

Following possibly the two worst songs on the album, this track is a nice pick me up. There isn’t much to it, the lyrics are incredibly repetitive, but the production on this track is pretty solid and the backing track is pretty easy to listen to. It’s not really a good song, but following the last two, it’s a solid, enjoyable, albeit forgettable track.

“39.28:”

This song feels like there was no effort put into it at all. It feels lazy and lethargic. There is no saving factor to this song. Glover’s layered vocals add nothing of value, and there’s barely any musical flow to the song. Thankfully, though, this is the last bad song on the album.

“42.26:”

This track was previously released under the title “Feels Like Summer”, so it doesn’t bring anything new to the album. That said I really like the song and it is kind of the perfect song to listen to on a summer day.

“47.48:”

This is where the album turns into what I like to call the “too little, too late” section of the album. This song is good. The production value and rhythm give it a nice flow. The lyrics are a bit repetitive but also convey an important message about the world. The real bright spot of this song is a cute closing of a conversation between Glover and his daughter with a soft melody in the background. It was an unexpected addition that I’m glad Glover included. This really is a good song and I’m glad this album is able to close with two really solid tracks, I just wish the whole album was this quality.

“53.49:”

This song is a really solid closer for the album. It has sort of a Rock ‘n’ Roll feel to it, but again, Glover adds his own flair to it. The chorus has a really nice melody and message. The drums are really powerful in this song, and somewhat overtake the vocals, but I think that was intentional. This is a really good song, and I would like to hear more of this style of song from Glover in the future.

Overall:

I really wish I could say more positive things about this album, I really do. I like Glover as an artist, actor and writer, and his 2016 album “Awaken, My Love” is one of my favorite albums in recent memory. Unfortunately, I can’t say too many positive things about this album. Despite a few bright spots with tracks like “Algorythm,” “19.10” and “53.49,” the majority of this album just feels like a mess. Most of the songs have sloppy production, boring vocals, and are way too long. I hope Glover gets back on track with his next album, because unfortunately, I was extremely disappointed with this album. 

Grade: C-