Photo courtesy RCA Records

Gambino Goes Out with a Banger

Childish Gambino releases fourth and final album

Childish Gambino releases fourth and final album

The Swiss Army knife of creative minds, Donald Glover, also known by his musical alias Childish Gambino, has returned with his fourth and final studio album, “3.15.20.”

Glover announced the planned retirement of his Gambino alias at the 2017 Governors Ball Music Festival.

“I’ll see you for the last Gambino album,” Glover said.

He later doubled down on the retirement of the Gambino name, announcing on his 2018 This is America Tour that it would be the last Gambino tour.

Glover, meanwhile, has kept himself extremely busy between musical releases, starring as Lando Calrissian in 2018’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and voicing Simba in 2019’s rendition of “The Lion King.” Glover also writes, directs, produces and stars in his own television show, “Atlanta,” which is currently green lit for two more seasons.

Karen Castañeda, a Humboldt State University environmental studies major, discovered Glover through his show, “Atlanta.”

“I love him as an actor and I blew through the whole show really fast,” Castañeda said. “He’s super talented and I really support everything he puts out.”

3.15.20” saw its official release on March 21, after briefly appearing on before it was removed and replaced with a countdown clock.

The album is peppered with conscious messages that apply now more than ever, in the current pandemic circumstances. The first real song of the album, “Algorhthym,” was unofficially released to fans that attended the This is America Tour in 2018. On the track, Glover addresses brainwashing of humans by social media to make them feel inadequate.

Particia Pettit-Blair, an HSU psychology major, discovered Glover’s music through friends, and has listened ever since. Despite the unique sounds he creates by layering instruments and combining styles, Pettit-Blair finds Glover’s lyrics to be extremely meaningful and relatable.

“I like that he kinda takes a different approach to music,” Pettit-Blair said.

On the previously released “Feels Like Summer,” now titled “42.26,” Glover confronts the climate crisis with a global warming public service announcement.

Glover reinforces the same message on the track, “Time.” The song sounds like a remix to “Feels Like Summer,” and stresses the obvious truth that “We’re running out of time.” Glover is able to address serious issues without compromising the quality of his music because they come off as organic with the brand he’s built.

Glover carries his unorthodox approach to the release of “3.15.20” into the album itself. Out of the 12 tracks, 10 on the LP are simply named after their linear location on the album. The project also has two tracks with hidden features, including pop-star Ariana Grande on the song, “Time,” and Grammy-award-winner 21 Savage on the next track, “12.38.”

On top of a cinematic intro track, each song has its own intro or outro, providing a transition between each one. This gives the album the cinematic experience Glover was after with his 2013 album, “Because the Internet.”

3.15.20” is packed with Glover’s versatile singing and the unique sounds he’s developed over the span of his career. He largely leaves rap behind, as he did on “Awaken, My Love” and his “Kauai” EP, with the exception of his distorted verses on the song “Algorhythm” and the highly aggressive flow on the outro track. Glover takes the hardcore fans of his music on a trip down memory lane, incorporating sounds from all of his previous projects into the album.

Glover brings back the chaotic energy of his debut single, “Bonfire,” on his weirdest song to date, “32.22.” Glover continues to push the boundaries of his audience with the mostly incomprehensible track that can only be described as a war chant. Glover gives fans more deja vu on the track, “19.10,” with a heavy dance vibe resembling Glover’s 2014 single, “Sober,” along with several other tracks from “Kauai.”

The project with the most influence on “3.15.20” is the most recent and most unique, “Awaken, My Love.” The album’s presence can be felt on multiple tracks, including the heartwarming love song, “24.19,” sung in the same style as his biggest hit, “Redbone.”

Paired with some of Glover’s most meaningful messages, the experimental sounds Glover has flirted with since he first came on the scene have come together in spectacular fashion for the ultimate payoff on the last Childish Gambino album.

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