Album Review: Childish Gambino – Because The Internet


This is the first post by contributor Dan. Please welcome him with open arms and read his wonderful review.

I first heard Childish Gambino in early 2011, when the song “Be Alone” was released and EP was first announced. The only reason I initially listened to that song was to see if Donald Glover (the dude from Derrick Comedy and Community in my eyes at this time, nothing more) could actually make bearable music.  Not only was this music bearable, it was pretty amazing!  Every song filled with pop culture reference after pop culture reference, that I actually understood.  It was way different from the Wiz Khalifa that all my friends we’re listening to at that time, but way better.

CG

Fast Forward to 2013. After getting such rocky reviews for Camp and Royalty, Gambino prepares to release his fourth album (Culdesac predates two previously mentioned). This one however is a little different than the others; this is more than an original album.  This is a piece of art, complete with its own e-screenplay.  This e-screenplay has all the media built right in, from a player to play each track when necessary, to videos to go along with the listening/reading/watching experience.   In my opinion, this is the most complete album of the year.  As a stand alone, the CD is still great, but it doesn’t really make too much sense for Donald/Childish to be rapping about some topics that he does.  When linked with the screenplay, the whole album makes so much more sense because you are getting perspective that you were not just getting with the lyrics.

The only track I was not fully invested into this album was “Urn”; however after reading the section in the screenplay, I see the song’s purpose. It is an important part in the story even if it is a bland part of the album.

Childish Gambino put himself on the album cover for Because The Internet

Childish Gambino put himself on the album cover for Because The Internet

This album is also split into sub sections, which really work for the album.  These sections differentiate in setting of the story, that give the reader/listener a better understanding to what CG or “the boy” is feeling at this point in the story.  My favorite section of the album is track 10-12, or as I refer to it as, “The Party Chapters.” Track 10 is just Donald playing some piano chords (which occurs in the screenplay as well), followed by (in my opinion) the coolest song on the album “the Party” which features a flawless verse and then quickly dies out into the next track.  Track 12, “No Exit” is one of the most haunting songs on the album, and it works so well for the section it is.

As a whole thing, Because the Internet is easily one of the best pieces of art to come out this year.  I would strongly recommend that you read the screenplay through at least once (can easily be done in one sitting.)  Below is the tracklist, normally I would recommend certain tracks to pull out and listen to separately, but I feel that this album works best as a whole, because it is split into all these subsections.:

  1. ‘The Library (Intro)’
  2. I. ‘The Crawl’
  3. II. ‘Worldstar’
  4. ‘Dial Up’
  5. I. ‘The Worst Guys’ (Featuring Chance The Rapper)
  6. II. ‘Shadows’
  7. III. ‘Telegraph’ (“Oakland” by Lloyd)
  8. IV. ‘Sweatpants’
  9. V. ’3005′
  10. ‘Playing Around Before The Party Starts’
  11. I. ‘The Party’
  12. II. ‘No Exit’
  13. ‘Death By Numbers’
  14. I. ‘Flight of The Navigator’
  15. II. ‘Zealots of Stockholm’ (Free Information)
  16. III. ‘Urn’
  17. I. ‘Pink Toes’ (Featuring Jhene Aiko)
  18. II. ‘Earth: The Oldest Computer (The Last Night)’ [Featuring Azealia Banks]
  19. III. ‘Life: The Biggest Troll’ (Andrew Auernheimer)

Here is also a link to the screenplay.

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