Welcome back to my random musings. Glad you can join me. Nothing fancy today. The comeback begins with the latest installment from Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino. The man has been on the minds of many thanks to his critically acclaimed new series, “Atlanta.” But some will tell you that he’s a better rapper than he is an actor, as those can harken back to the days when he dropped tracks like Freaks and Geeks while he was in the midst of his “Community” fame (ha, NBC). Nonetheless, let’s go track by track.
- Me and Your Mama – Ok, this starts off light and then FUNK takes over. Donald and Ludwig Göransson, his longtime production collaborator slow down
- Have Some Love – Ok, this seems to be a 70s tribute album. Last song was so general funk ballad. Here we have a Rare Earth cover band on the hook. Gambino sings with no bass and all treble here. Decent track.
- Boogieman – Alright, Parliament. Time for your shine in this tribute LP. Rock and roll and roll and rock. I’ll do my rich man walk to this, complete with the 2nd Jabba the hut sound byte of the album.
- Zombies – This is the 1st song where we get Donald Glover. I say his government name because he’s singing with no special caveat outside of a random visible insertion of vocoder to accentuate a note. I can’t say I’m a big fan of this track. it seems to just be there and isn’t bad b any particular definition.
- Riot – Awesome sounding Parliament Funkadelic delicious sounding track. It’s ok to call it that. It also helps that writing credits go toward Hall of famers George Clinton, Fuzzy Haskins and Eddie Hazel.
- Redbone – This ode to light-skindeded women opens up reminiscent of “Rather Be with You.” Bootsy…errr… Childish sings like brown liquor made his voice increase an octave. I actually love this track, which was the 2nd single released. This is a good song to drop for the intermission between Netflix and Chill.
- California – So I made a rule. whenever I write these things, I have to listen to the album at least twice so it doesn’t feel as much of a knee jerk reaction. 3rd time around listening to this, it doesn’t really do much for me. This song takes itself the opposite of way too seriously. There is a word for this but for now, I’ll simply say you can skip over this for your listening pleasure.
- Terrified – Sounds like we got straight R&B here. This is the song they would play on the radio in between Kem and Lyft Jennings, in the “….. just ok” block of singers.
- Baby Boy – I don’t know if you knew, but there’s 2 types of Baby Boys: Beyoncé and Tyrese. 1 is a banger that can start a party at any given moment. 2 is a song that’s cool and might fade away slowly. This song is a bit different. 1st off, we’re officially in the slow jam portion of our musical selection today. 2nd, we’ve officially hit the “Chill” portion post-Netflix. It sounds like Glover won’t stop until you have a baby by him, and be a millionaire. Speaking of making babies….
- The Night Me and Your Mama Met – We need a guitarist to play the blues. Here comes Gary Clark, Jr. to save the day. This is really his track backed by a collection of choir voices. This instrumental is smooth. I can wake up or go to sleep to this.
- Stand Tall – Last track. Time to get out with a bang. To the surprise of many with myself included Gambino doesn’t rap. Apparently, this is a R&B album 1st and last. Childish sings out for everyone to follow their dreams and stand high among everyone… basically. the lyrics loop over the 6 min track to essentially “keep standing tall.”
OK, so this is not a rap album. The bars from songs like Bonfire and Sweatpants are not here. Gambino can carry a solid tune with his voice and for the 3rd album, he decides to go deep into his old school soulful bag of tricks. The album is half funk with a 2nd act of power after hours R&B. I think this is a disappointment if you were looking for some rap bars. Especially after this fall, people were waiting for Glover to come out with Paperboy, Paperboy, I’m all about that Paperboy. instead, we have a continuation of what he started on Kauai. The soul singer did work on this with the lyricist taking a break on this project.
If you were looking for some mixtape magic and features from some hot rappers like the 4 Migos, then you’re upset. The album for you is a 4 out of 10. If you’re a laid back, sit with your drink and reflect upon things cat, the record is satisfying and is a 8 out of 10. I’m gonna hop in the middle and give it a 6. It’s like a prospect with all the tools but can’t seem to put it altogether and become a star. I’m done. I’m gonna grab a drink and listen to Redbone again.