Donald Glover streams new album of soulful R&B

Childish Gambino, Donald Glover

Childish Gambino performs at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco during the Outside Lands Music Festival on Aug. 10, 2019. Joaquin Cabello/STAFF.

Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino released what looks to be his new album Saturday night on the site DonaldGloverPresents.com. The link, which was later tweeted out by Glover’s manager, takes you to a page featuring a black and white cartoon cityscape, presumably the album’s cover, and play button.

The whole project is shrouded in mystery. No one seems to know if the album will be released under the moniker “Childish Gambino”—a name Glover has said previously he would retire after his fourth record. The website’s name suggests Glover has reverted to using his own name. There are no song titles or credits for the album; not even an album title. Additionally, it’s unclear at this time what record label is releasing this material. Glover signed to RCA in 2018 and promised new music.



The song cycle, which includes Gambino’s 2018 single “Feels Like Summer,” manages to be both lush and sparse, and features more singing than rapping by Glover. Fans have already identified cameos by Ariana Grande and 21 Savage on the songs.

The album could not be paused or restarted. It begins with an AutoTuned, a capella performance by Glover, who sings, “Why go to the party?/ Why go to the party?/ Why go to the party at all?” The second track is the 2018 laid-back single “Feels Like Summer.” The songs span multiple genres, gliding between smooth R&B, throbbing trap beats and noisy electronic pastiches.

Many of the songs feel like significant additions to the tradition of super smooth and seductive R&B songs by artists like Marvin Gaye and Maxwell. One song features the refrain, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, the violence,” sung over a conga-heavy groove. The third track begins with some very funky clavinet and triangle, a sonic stew of Stevie Wonder and Funkadelic. The vibe is decidedly mellow. At other times the album is more overtly political and musically menacing. A sudden, caustic verse of angry rap begins a song we’ll call “There is Love in Every Moment” before the mood shifts again.

As of noon on Sunday Glover’s site appeared to be down, only displaying the page’s title.

Follow writer David Gill at Twitter.com/songotaku and Instagram/songotaku.

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