Yes, the album cover really is just a slightly off white square.

Per-track breakdown:


Alright, so we’re starting off with some hymnal techno sounds, as Gambino, on heavy autotune, chants “We are, we are, we are” for 3 minutes. It’s a cool sounding intro, and it prepares you for the mood of the rest of the album, but it’s not really something you’d listen to more than once. That’s normally the point of intros in albums like these, so we’re not really complaining. (Sarah’s note: I think I’d actually meditate to this lmfao and I mean that in a really good way. Feels like inner peace.)

Good for the Listening Experience™.


I like this one, and not just because I’m eecs. The beat starts out aggressive, funky, with Childish Gambino’s voice pitched way down to this distortion timbre. There are parts it reminds me substantially of some of Young Father’s work, actually, on their earlier albums, and I love Young Fathers. The ending beats (post 2:55 mark) actually get fucking insane for a bit there, the “whoohs” in the song are really cool, the TRANSITION TO TIME IS IMPECCABLE! And yet, despite all the production flourishes and the newness of it, it still somehow feels like the kind of track you would dance like crazy to. “Everybody move your body, now do it, here is something that’s gonna make you move and groove!” TRUE! It does!

It’s like Death Grips but you can actually listen to it without wanting to shoot your ears off.

It also has some deep one liners like: “How do we know the truth without feeling what could be false?”, “Looking for something worth it, the algorhythm is perfect” (true, thank you machine learning), and “Everybody want to get chose like Moses.”

Mad cool. Coders unite?


Time has a sunny beat – I really dig the drums on this one. Gambino voice on this sounds like Stevie Wonder’s talkbox at certain points, which is charming and audibly interesting, so props to that. It also features Ariana Grande (to quote Sarah, “it has Ariana Grande we get it”). Her voice is sweet on this too, but pretty standard. The chanting at the end of the song is also like nice — not crazy, but you know, it’s there and it can stay. The major issue with this song is just that it’s too damn long for what it is. It should have stopped at max 4 minutes, but Gambino really hit us with 6 minutes and 7 seconds of standard stuff.

Charming, but needs to be shortened.


On first listen, I branded this song as the “groovy background music, smooth talking” early Logic did (and did well) and didn’t really give it a proper listen. That was a mistake, because the longer you stick with 12.38, the more it grows on you. For one, Gambino’s rapping is smooth, and he interspaces it with little easter eggs, (the favorite: there’s a verse where he says “nah, imma put on the radio though” and the music blurs into this radio-feature of a later part of the song). I didn’t like 21 Savage here, his lyrics were stupid, honestly, and messed with the vibe™, but the other features, Ink and Khadja Bonet, killed the game in the vocals department. Even Gambino’s singing voice on this was delightful. But the best part of the song is the ending. The ending is a ride. After 21 Savage stops rapping (god bless), Ink comes in with this hazy, 80s vibe singing of “Baby, let’s take this back to the crib”, which then switches into a complete techno head-banger rendition of the very same lyrics. Then the finale, the finale y’all, hits you with these scales made from the same audio clip pitched differently, and then more noise comes in, and then static and video game gun sounds and echoes and air claps and car vrooms, and all these noises just escalate up into — into an abrupt hault. Like I said, it’s a ride.

A damn good one.


19.10 has the same drums as Time, so clearly it has good drums. The vocals are pretty simple, but really fitting for the background music and content of the song. Highlights:

  • When Gambino croons “To be beautiful is to be hunted”, which, when writing it out, sounds kinda dumb, but when Gambino sings it I’m like — oh, yeah, poetry.
  • The lyrics. I’m a sucker for practically every song with parental advice, and this baby delivers:

    I remember, uh, back when I was six years old,
    Daddy said, “The world’s so cold”
    “There is something that you should know”
    “You’re so gorgeous,” thank you, daddy
    “Nothing’s really worth your time”
    “But someday soon you just might find”
    “The truth about the world’s design,” and Now remember, uh
    You do what the hell you want, uh
    But someone’s gonna smell your funk
    You’re exactly what they want (Truth) and To be happy really means that someone else ain’t
    And balance ain’t a one-food plate
    Everything is give and take, oh, oh

(Oops, copied all the lyrics) I’m not sold on the point of the last 2 minutes though, like a couple of the other songs on this album this one’s a bit long.

Not perfect, but still a good one.


The song is exactly as it’s lyrics indicate–sweet! I love this one. The distortions on Glover’s voice are so fucking nice—at times it sounds almost like an instrument / synth in and of itself. It feels groovy and swaying and jazzy, and the repetition of: “Sweet thing!” through the chorus is just a rush of joy and I-wanna-sway-in-the-afternoon sunlight. The thudding of the bass and the plucking electric guitar are in perfect time.

It’s definitely the production that makes itself known first, but the lyrics themselves are really fucking nice when you listen:

You moved to Southern California, sweet thing
You do just what your parents told you, sweet thing
You’re watching Parks and Rec alone, sweet thing

Parks and Rec is my favorite TV show of all time, OF ALL TIME, so I find that line impossibly charming.

You made me chicken, rice, and beans, sweet thing

Makes you crave chicken and rice. The whole song is rife with Love and sweetness and adoration, actually:

I said thank you
Thank you for showing me what love can be

And yet there’s also the subtle admittance that things aren’t always as good as they might seem, and that maybe this love, as good as it is, still isn’t enough:

If you wanna be happy, don’t look at my phone, sweet thing

It’s brilliant, and on tone. The last minute of the song is—I think—the reverberated sound of the male orgasm interpolated with a quick-paced drum beat. Uh—I mean, I don’t have a problem with it? Also especially impressive about this song: it’s 7 minutes and 59 seconds long, and it doesn’t feel like a drag, at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite—it’s so good that it almost passes too quickly. It’s a long one that doesn’t feel long.

A sweet thing. So fucking good.


A weird noise / experimental track. Like, clipping. / Kai Whiston / JPEGMAFIA / JAPA_KNEES / a lot of other independent™ and underground™ artists that you bring up when you need to flex that you understand w e i r d music have definitely done this kind of thing with the noises before. It’s cool, but it’s not his, and imo not that enjoyable of a listen.

Thank you Donald, very cool!


This song physically forces you to smile, it’s that sunshiney. The lyrics are grim in comparison (“He was only sixteen, he was lookin’ at three / Now he lookin’ at nine, pray to God he don’t speak”), but really well made:

Crime don’t pay, I ain’t heard what they say
Quarter brick, half a brick, whole brick, ayy (Ayy)
Cotton ball white like hen house floors
Could’ve been broke, this the life I chose

The contrast between the old folksy beat of the song and the lyrics is diggable. The best part of 35.31 (my god these song names) is the transition at 2:40. It’s impeccable — Gambino goes from upbeat and cheery to solemn and smooth. This sobering of the music makes a previously good song, genius. I wasn’t sold on a lot of the outros in this album, but this one was Pilot Jones or White Ferrari level good. Basically, the man just reverses some of the lyrics from 39.28 (see below) makes it synthy, puts it over a sick beat and he’s set — it’s another banger. Or, in the words of mrsteveyboy44:


First: the transition from 35.31 to 39.28 when you listen sequentially is LOVELY. The production is really, really stripped down—pretty much only his voice, completely electrified, and brief flourishes of piano or crescendos. It’s cool enough, but not terribly interesting, but it definitely does the job in encapsulating the vibe the song is going for.

The lyrics are, um:

Grief is a standing ocean, I never swam unless you did
So I don’t know why I’m here without you
I miss you
Why go to the party?


It’s hard for me to love myself without you here

The above line is delivered in a very, very unexpected falsetto.

So, yeah. It’s definitely some simp my-girlfriend-broke-up-with-me-but-I’m-happy-for-her type shit. (If you’re unfamiliar with the genre, it’s basically the vibe of every Joji or Rex Orange County song ever, like, oh she broke up with me because she deserves better, but I’m going to handle it by just lying on my bed staring at the ceiling wondering what things would be like if I didn’t suck. I’ll mostly do this, except for two weeks later when I drink too much at a party I was hoping she’d be at and hook up with her best friend instead.)

If you need to SIMP.


It feels like summeeeeerrrr!

A late February day where it felt like summer. Also, have I mentioned that I go to the University of California, Berkeley yet?

We’ve all heard this song already, so you know how it goes.

It does indeed feel like summer.


It’s got a funkiness, and the outro with Donald Glover and his son, is really really sweet. Despite the funkiness, the lyrics (“Don’t worry ‘bout tomorrow”—semi-ironic?) make it feel almost like a lullaby at times. It’s not bad but at 6ish minutes long, the song feels a little overlong, and you have to resist the temptation to switch tracks.

Solid effort, a bit overlong.


I do really like this one—it just has a feeling, an explosive emotion to it. The interpolation between Childish Gambino’s scratchy-voice, aggressive, funky-beat rapping (which has an old-school feel to it, especially in the context of the rest of the album) and the sweet, melodic chorus which goes There is love in every moment under the sun, girl is really, really fucking good. (Speaking of, the choruses are so fucking good). It’s good because while the vibe switches, the level of emotional intensity and feeling in the music remains and it remains very, very high.

The moments where Glover really lets his voice loose at the end of the verses into an all out cry-holler-shout (ex. 1:20, 2:07) feel like catharsis. There’s a lot of cool stuff going on in the production as well—when the choir comes in over a beat that sounds comprised of people’s breaths, except pitched to be squeaky and unfamiliar, around the three minute mark—the explosion into melody at the end of the song—it’s just good.

And as a closing track on an album—you can feel the catharsis and the uplift and the emotion on this one, you really can. “When you feel alone, know you are not alone”—thanks Gambino 🙂

Hell yeah!

In summary…

This album is really fucking good. Like, we both haven’t heard something at this level in a while. Really, really recommend.

There’s VIBE DIFFERENTIATION on this album. That elusive thing that’s been missing from every literally indie-or-not-indie album I’ve heard, like, ever. It’s one of the things that separates good artists from great artists—can you make a substantial album that’s stylistically cohesive while still making each individual track unique. Maybe it’s harsh, but a lot of albums–good records by good artists—could honestly just be reduced to EPs, because a bunch of the songs will sound like mildly altered versions of the same track. Not this album.

It’s not perfect—I mean, a “perfect” album comes like twice a decade, and even then you’ll have people who dispute that—but it’s at a level of quality and interesting that I honestly haven’t found in a minute. A GODDAMN TREAT to listen to.

Honestly, the only thing I could think to complain about (and that’s saying a lot) is the naming schematic. With the exception of Algorhythm and Time, the man’s just like, using the timestamp within the album for the song title. And the album cover is literally a white square. Has modern art gone too far? Probably. And yeah I get it, it’s for the a e s t h e t i c or whatever but the downside is that it makes it really hard to refer these songs without sounding like an absolute douche. Like, imagine turning to the homies and being like, “Check out twenty-four-point-one-nine.” They’ll be like ??? Also makes it really hard to remember which song is which.

Of course this has nothing to do with the music itself, and is basically irrelevant, but. I’m a zoomer lol let me complain.

(Technically still not as good as Yeezus, which is in my top 5 albums of all time, but the idea still holds.)

The Culinarity™ Score:


(Like the permittivity of free space!)

Want an explanation of our scoring system? See here.