Childish Gambino Releases 4th Studio Album

No, this isn't just a white square. This is the album cover for 3.15.20
Source: pitchfork.com

No, this isn’t just a white square. This is the album cover for 3.15.20 Source: pitchfork.com

Jacob Chaimovitch

It’s hard to identify 36-year-old Donald Glover to one moniker. He has been Simba in The Lion King and Rich Purnell in The Martian. He also was a writer, executive producer, and director for the show Atlanta, which he also starred in as Earnest ‘Earn’ Marks. Most recently, however, he used the name Childish Gambino in the hip-hop industry. On Sunday, March 22nd, he showed us how good he can be with that name as well with his surprise album titled 3.15.20. In a world in lockdown due to COVID-19, Gambino reflected on the insecurities and imperfections of humans through the 12-track album.

Each track has two names: one name is the time on the full tracklist that the song appears in and the other is the true name of the song. The exceptions being the first three songs on the album, which are named 0.00, Algorhythm, and Time. Of the 12 songs on the album, only three of them have features (Ariana Grande on Time, 21 Savage and Kadhja Bonet on 12.38 ‘Vibrate’, and Legend Glover on 47.48 ‘The Violence’). With that in mind, this truly is a showcase of Gambino’s ability to experiment and go out of his comfort zone. This didn’t come as a total shock to Gambino fans, but many were very confused in the days leading up to the release of the album.

On March 15th, a website called donaldgloverpresents.com was advertised and promoted by people with ties to Gambino’s production crew. The album had a continuous loop of a handful of songs as well as artwork that hinted at an album. The songs were taken down a few hours later and were replaced by a countdown to the 22nd, which ended up being the release date of the album. While 3.15.20 didn’t have any singles, it did have the track titled 42.26 ‘Feels Like Summer’; the same song was released alongside ‘Summertime Magic’ without the timestamp in Gambino’s teaser album Summer Pack two years prior to the release of 3.15.20.

Many people had very good things to say about the album as a whole. Metacritic gave the album an 85/100 and indicated ‘universal acclaim’ as a result. Consequence of Sound writer Okla Jones had plenty of positive things to say, stating that “Glover’s willingness to experiment with different sounds and harmonies is evidence that things either foreign or unknown need not be feared, but embraced…there’s beauty in uncertainty”. This statement also relates to the COVID-19 epidemic; many have no idea if or when this will end, but Gambino shows us through music that we have nothing to be truly afraid of.