Album Review: 3.15.20 by Childish Gambino

Ann Vettikkal | Staff Writer


Childish Gambino’s surprise release of 3.15.20 ostensibly gives us nothing to comment on (including the white album cover and tracks named after their timestamp within the larger project) except the actual music. Listening to the album from beginning to end is an experience in and of itself, and a confusing one, especially compared to Gambino’s earlier albums from the past decade like “Awaken, My Love!” which was considerably more funk-driven and soulful. Now, Gambino has given us something experimental and anything but one note, kicking off with “0.00,” a wordless, synthy intro that feels overly produced to evoke emotion, like the goal was for the listener to astral project. It’s scary in the same way that “24.19” is scary, luring you in with a hypnotic beat and banal lyrics, repeating “sweet thing” and then hitting you with the ragged breaths of someone being chased. Even though the album creates interesting overarching themes, simply put, it lacks specific enjoyability. At its best, Gambino gives his audience what they want, “35.31,” which is spirited — the type of melody that reminds us of a life unburdened by social distancing. And again, as the album wraps up, we hear “Feels Like Summer” in the track “42.26,” a familiar relief, welcoming us after the harrowing journey.