07 December 2013
That’s what Donald Glover tweeted when his newest release because the internet leaked last night. There’s been a whole lot of hullabaloo circling around the rapper or the comedian or even maybe the actor depending on how you look at him over the summer and into the fall. He left his show Community, made a film called Clapping for the Wrong Reasons which featured porn star Abella Anderson and a few others inside a mansion and his Instagram account became an outlet for notepad confessionals. Whatever has been going on with him, the erratic nature carried through to this album and whether or not is good is up for grabs.
Gambino’s style of crooning, commenting, double-time flow and just plain talking throughout this album is on forefront. He has a great talent for switching between various methods of presentation and he’s no stranger to showing it off. Now, couple that idea with production and this is where Gambino’s sound went to. His songs progress organically, adding elements until one should be taken to center stage shifting the song to a new direction. Skits and songs blend into each other not only lyrically but within their samples, too. Four consecutive tracks depict him going through various interactions with old flings & new love and their respective impacts on his life.
“im trying to create one of the more imaginative rollouts, and other people’s lust for money and impatience is ruining it”
The track “IV. sweatpants” got released a lot earlier than Glover wanted and he responded to the internet’s greediness with that previous line. In this age, everything is instantaneous and has gotten to be a point where it’s all expected to be free, because, well, the internet. Information – whether its text, video, or sound – is ingested at per second speeds and we expect more and more as accessibility continues to increase. Artists have a specificity to what they put out obviously, I mean, this is their livelihood. Are we damaging ourselves with this black hole-esque intake? It’s nice being so attached to the things we love but smothering usually only pushes people away.
“when i leave here. i will have done my job.”
As we get further into the album, we’re taken to a party with no exit. Then we end up in a three track span of songs that get really dark. A new voice is brought in, a distorted eeriness echoing over a simple guitar picking with ambience resonating back and forth. “Everything just kept going, and going and going / and even when you laughed, when you cried / and even when you were sad you were really happy because you were here” the voice trickles out. The track itself is inspired from Glover’s loss of someone close to him. He called it a “cruel joke” and it’s clear it had an effect on him. This sentiment is brought again at the end of the album with lyrics fading out saying “You have to help me / Please help me / Please” as we go to silence. Not to mention the album art is a teary eyed Glover looking out into the distance, wearing a hawaiian shirt reflecting the idea that the escape physically isn’t always the one we need mentally.
I guess, I don’t know how to react yet to this release. I always enjoy what Glover puts out but its pretty erratic and emotional. There’s time this hits home and hard and then there’ll be moments where he loses me as a song loses its instrumentation. I’m caught up in a lot of things but also, it seems, Gambino is and maybe he’s saying something releasing an album with this much ADHD. Then again, I’m just some kid on the internet.