Friday, 17 January 2014

Music: Childish Gambino - because the internet

Childish Gambino's 'because the internet' didn't appear in my top 10 albums of the year quite simply because I didn't think it would be that great, and therefore I didn't bother listening to it. The artist also known as Donald Glover - best known for playing Troy Barnes in Community - released his debut commercial album 'Camp' to mixed reviews. Alternative Press giving it 4 1/2 stars, and Allmusic, The Independent, and Mojo all giving 4 stars but on the other hand The Guardian handed out only 2, and Pitchfork's measly 1.6/10 - something he somehow referenced ahead of time, "Pitchfork only likes rappers who are crazy or hood, man."

'because the internet' is pretty much nothing like that. One of the deepest concept albums I've ever heard of. So the world is set up at the end of 'Camp'

Then he releases a half-hour film named 'Clapping for the Wrong Reasons'

It's a tie-in to the screenplay that accompanies the album. (There's a lot to this album). Then he starts posting deep messages on instagram:

There's references to criticisms from camp, that he's misogynistic and that he hates his own race. Alongside the fact that he worries that people will find 'because the internet' pretentious - something he's referenced in interviews. It helps set-up the mindset Gambino was in with this album.

And then we get to the actual music! I've spent quite a lot of space talking about other things so I'll try to keep this brief. My favourite track is 'Telegraph Ave.' where he drives to his ex-girlfriend's house - who he was planning on having a baby with - to see her as he was feeling down. The final verse just sounds perfect. 100% how it should. One review said the last five tracks are were it starts to become a great rap album, but where it also gets really weird. There's no doubt that 'Urn', the story of pouring his Dad's ashes into a river in Stockholm, is pretty damn strange. I mean this is without referencing the easy-to-listen to '3005' or 'Earth: The Oldest Computer' which features Azelia Banks.

I'm no expert in this particular genre of music so I'm gonna try not to make myself look like a fool, but the concept on this album is incredible and if you've got the time and the will then I would wholeheartedly recommend it. Best album of 2013? Just maybe.

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