Gambino’s (and Donald Glover’s) profile has been raised considerably in the last 12 months, and there’s no doubt that this is his most high-profile release to date, with many ignoring his previous releases and treating this as a true ‘debut album’: we won’t argue the technicalities, and the fact remains that he’s been putting out some great music regardless of the project its been for, and that consistency has set expectations extremely high for this LP.
Did it live up to the hype? If you’ve not already found out on Twitter, fear not: each individual Tweet has been compiled below for you readers to enjoy in a more regular format. Keep an eye out for our next live album review on the official OTU Twitter account!
1. Outside: Slow opening, but leads into a rousing, uplifting hook that would be extremely well-suited to the opening of a movie.
2. Fire Fly: Production and vocals have a real 90s throwback vibe. Dueling vocals on the hook bring it back to the 00s. Summer music.
4. All The Shine: Excellent build to a what is a hugely inspiring hook. Review.
5. Letter Home: Superb string work, and a smooth sonic progression from All The Shine.
6. Heartbeat: A favourite of many. Light singing and sharp raps, beat relies alternately on soft keys and thick synths. Exceptional.
7. Backpackers: Mesmerising percussion, think J. Cole’s Bring Em In. Not keen on CG’s flow here, decent punchlines though. Weak hook.
8. L.E.S.: Instantly seduced by the strings, anchor the song brilliantly. Nice mix of subject matter on verses. Mellow, memorable hook.
9. Hold You Down: Good change of pace with a key-driven production. Focus on the lyrics pays off for the most part. Nice outro.
10. Kids: Decent, see the appeal, but a little too schizophrenic. Nursery rhyme vocals don’t contrast well with the blunt rap delivery.
11. You See Me: Weakest track. Going for the speaker-rattler, but instead drags on very slowly. Nice rapid-fire flow at the end though.
12. Sunrise: Recovers from the lull of the previous 2 tracks with energy and vibrancy. Nothing groundbreaking, but a solid all-rounder.
13. That Power: Microcosm of the album: good vocals, solid raps, excellently produced with great progressions between hook and verse.