It often feels like Childish Gambino's creativity is limitless. It might be because the 30-something-year-old multi-faceted artist continues to reshape his musical identity. As Gambino stretches the ability of his imagination, it often calls for his fans to do the same.
In "3.15.20," Gambino is a culmination of all his previous musical experiences and then some. Gambino clashes genres like country, gospel and psychedelic rock together with ease. The album was mysteriously released on March 15th as a single stream on his website, donaldgloverpresents.com, with it later being released on streaming platforms on March 22nd. Gambino’s chaotic fantasy tackles themes of identity, politics, love and life itself. Listen to our five favorite songs below.
"Time" introspectively starts with Childish Gambino wondering about humanity, “Seven billion people/Tryna free themselves/Said a billion prayers/Tryna save myself/I can see it coming/But it's moving fast.” Ariana Grande sings about her shared skepticism of the world's never-ending problems. The song ends with Brent Jones and the Best Life Singers ominously singing “We’re running out of time.”
Gambino enlists 21 Savage for "12.38" for an experimental R&B track. The record vividly tells a story of Gambino’s intimate escape with a woman. Gambino seamlessly interchanges his witty raps about famous singers like SZA and Toni Braxton for high-pitched singing. Frequent collaborator Kadhja Bonet softly sings the bridge, and 21 Savage delivers a politically-charged rap before the track ends with chopped vocals layered with trippy effects by Ink.
"24.19" is a gospel-funk fusion prayer where Gambino takes the time to profess his love for a woman that’s done so much for him. Although quite simple lyrically, the song's structure is slightly complex, running at just shy of eight minutes, it is full of several different transitions. At the 3:35 mark, Gambino takes the second half of the song to say thank you ever so passionately over lush chords and a harp that plays faintly in the background. The song slowly fades out almost as if it was a distant dream at 6:40 and the track fills with rapid drum programming that mimics an elevated heart rate.
Childish Gambino gets chaotic with “32.22,” the production has a heavy tribal influence. Gambino adds to the chaos by muttering lyrics and letting out primal screams throughout the record. While the verses are mostly inaudible due to the screams and heavy percussion, the song marks a strong shift in the project. The track ends with a bunch of farm noises and a triangle playing in the background.
“39.28” is minimal in its approach, the song introduces a piano halfway into the first verse. Gambino confusingly asks “Why go to the party...Two shots and a body, two shots and a body/Two shots and a body involved,” most likely alluding to his 2019 film "Guava Island" where Gambino’s character dies after performing at an island party. Because of its minimal characteristics, the song serves as a great moment to reflect before the next song “Feels Like Summer.”