By Quincy Higuera
Staff Writer

 

Childish Gambino released his album, “Atavista,” a reimagining of his last project, “3.15.20,” on May 13, 2024, and there is a lot to unpack due to the lack of promotion, criticism and, of course, the music.

“Atavista” is not like any of its predecessors.

The music of Childish Gambino, a.k.a. Donald Glover, interests me because there is no common theme, no common genre; each project is nowhere near the same, so I’m always intrigued whenever he drops new music.

He chose the perfect time to release this; as temperatures start rising, you need this exact type of music as a soundtrack to your summer: psychedelic synthesizers, sun-kissed melodies, and soft vocals. Whether at the river, in a hammock or next to a grill — “Atavista” is the perfect background music for it.

I have mixed feelings about this release. I enjoy the creativity and artistic range. However, I don’t understand releasing an unfinished piece of work and waiting four years to follow up with the “complete” version, but here we are.

“3.15.20” is a compilation of, at the time, unheard and unfinished rough drafts that Glover released as a one-hour-long track on his website donaldgloverpresents.com and streaming services on March 14, 2020. Four days later, it was re-released as an album. Leading up to the release of “Atavista,” “3.15.20” was pulled from all platforms except YouTube.

This release, an altered version of “3.15.20,” sounds totally different. Glover has faced a lot of negative criticism for “ruining” people’s favorite songs, having altered the original versions.

For the sake of this review, I’m going to treat “Atavista” as a stand-alone project rather than piggybacking off of a previous release.

The first song, “Atavista,” was a great opener for this album. It starts strong with spacy synths that fill your ears with frequencies that bounce off of each other, followed by a smooth transition to a piano-heavy beat complimented by Glover’s high-pitched, soft vocals.

“Human Sacrifice” sounded a lot like the 2014 hit, “Starboy,” by The Weeknd. The melodic flow and the fast yet low synth reminds me of some twisted lullaby and the way Glover’s voice hit specific notes immediately brought me back to when Canadian R&B singer The Weeknd took the world by storm with his early hits.

There’s no way around it; the most popular song, “Little Foot Big Foot,” annoyed me a lot. It started with an uptempo, sing-songy, clap-along vibe with some goofy lyrics, then hijacked by Young Nudy and flipped to a trap song with flashy lyrics about guns, sex, and drugs. I was so confused; I just couldn’t get into it, and every time I got close, I was immediately detoured by the lyrics and the beat. It just sounded corny to me.

The dynamic of artists on “Psyilocybae” was similar to “Little Foot Big Foot,” but instead of Young Nudy, it’s his cousin 21 Savage. The song starts with Gambino walking us through his psychedelic experience over another heavily synthesized instrumental, followed by his signature high-pitched vocals. 21 Savage then steals the spotlight and in typical Atlanta fashion, turns it into a trap song. 21’s transition was smoother than Nudy’s, though. 21’s verse made sense, while Nudy was just blurting ignorant and street-oriented lyrics, and don’t get me wrong; I enjoy this just as much as the next person, but it has to make sense and these two did great at executing that.

Gambino announced that he will release a new album in the summer. I look forward to seeing what direction his upcoming music will take, as it’s taken some drastic changes during his career.

Glover also announced “The New World” Tour, which will take him to America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

The tour starts on August 11, 2024, and will end on February 11, 2025. By the time this tour begins, his new album will be released, and a new collection of music will serenade fans around the world.

Overall, this album was enjoyable (with some exceptions). “Atavista” is a rollercoaster of sounds and emotions, but that’s to be expected, because again, no Childish Gambino project is the same. “Atavista” is definitely worth a listen whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer. These sounds are worthy of some exploration and I think people from all walks of life could find something that stands out to them within the duration of “Atavista.”

Quincy Higuera

Quincy Higuera is a writer from Portland, Oregon. Currently studying Digital Media Communications at Clackamas Community College. Writing has always been a passion, especially when he's writing about his other passions such as music, food, Indigenous culture and more.

3 Comments

  1. Tawny Appleseed on May 31, 2024 at 11:16 am

    That’s the whole idea of big foot little foot. Watch the video and get the point

  2. Andy on May 31, 2024 at 12:25 pm

    I respect Troy from the Community, but this music is GARBAGE.

    • Tremell on June 6, 2024 at 1:42 pm

      Sometimes the masses don’t want to be forced to think. Little foot, big foot went right over the head of the author of this article!

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