Donald Glover surprised many fans a few weeks back with this surprise release, that many believe to be his final outing as Childish Gambino. And while this album is slightly overlong and occasionally a bit indulgent, it is also filled with some of the best tracks of the year. Arguably, the best of those tracks reside in the early part of the album, but it’s definitely worth listening all the way through.
While my personal tastes tend to gravitate towards the more pop or R&B numbers on the album, there are also a few hip hop heavy tracks that shine as well. “Algorhythm”, one of two tracks with actual titles (most of the album is named by time stamp) does a great job of molding the hip hop with a fun combination of both James Brown soul and Bobby Brown rhythms. In contrast, tracks like “12.38” sound like if Prince had looped one of his most basic tracks and let rappers play around with it. Not particularly bad, but certainly uninspired.
Yet, for every track that seems to blend in with the bigger picture (the album was conceived as a single track opus of sorts), there is a track like “19.10” that gets you out of your seat and dancing. It’s the albums propensity to throw out a time stopping number that has brought me back to it several times over the past weeks. Speaking of time, the other named track on this album is “Time”, and it is one of the best songs of the year. With a slick beat and Ariana Grande providing harmony, this is one of those tracks that will help push us threw these rough times with a smile on our faces.