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Why Culdesac is my Nevermind

*The following is my personal opinion. I am not a music critic but I know what I like.

Donald Glover may not be a household name to those who don’t watch Community. (You should watch Community) But I believe that he is the next Bill Murray. The man can turn anything into a hilarious joke and he is certified quadruple threat (actor, writer, comedian, and rapper). He’s not an actor who can tell a joke or a rapper who can write a screenplay, he is equally great at all those things.

When he raps, he goes by the stage name Childish Gambino. I downloaded his fourth album, Culdesac , one day on a whim just because I wanted to hear what a comedian would rap about. But Gambino makes it very clear that this is not a joke, he takes this seriously.

Culdesac is an amazing album and I consider it a modern classic. It’s filled with the highs and lows of a man trying to achieve his dream in the ruthless entertainment industry. The pressure of his fans, family, and relationships are almost becoming too much to bear, but he knows he must perform because he doesn’t want to disappoint anyone. Every few weeks I start listening to a song that I ignored before and I fall in love with the album all over again. There’s a lot of misogyny and cursing and use of the n-word, but the man can paint a picture with words like few others can. Here are my eight favorite songs from the sixteen-song album in no particular order.

1.  Track Six: You Know Me

This song is filled with memorable lines. People just realizing that I’m awesome why they take so long? Skip around the album, it’s not hard to find your favorite song. Very true indeed. This song has a retro high tech influence. It sounds like he sampled the scores from the original Terminator movie. Most of the songs are about CG expressing his swagger, but this one stands out because like the title says, you already know him. He doesn’t have to explain his awesomeness, but he will anyway.

2.  Track Three: I Be On That

The beat for this track is just…freaking awesome. The guitar rift blends with the repeated use of the word “hey” to create a cool anthem. I dare you to listen to this song and not daydream about flying in a private jet around the world in a five thousand dollar suit. If you are feeling extra fly, add a cigar and some slow motion.

3.  Track Eight: Do Ya Like

You can’t go bad with a sample from Adele. But CG kills it with more of his trademark boasting.  The song is not only about him seducing a girl; it’s about him seducing the rap game. This is a song for a man who knows he’s on top and is just waiting for other people to wake up. I’m in love with you, but this is not tennis. And baby stay stacked like she bad at tetris.

4. Track Fourteen: These Girls

With the comedic female music duo Garfunkel and Oats backing him up, one might expect this song to take a break from the serious and make us laugh. On the contrary, this song is filled with emotion and remorse. CG knows that he should be loyal and faithful to his girlfriend, but random girls always seduce him. He knows he is wrong, but he can’t stop himself, and the seriousness of CG’s vocals gives this song a heavy boost of emotional power. These girls are on my mind, wasn’t my design, to be sitting here across from you pretending I aint lying.

5. Track Two: Hero

There was a “Donald for Spiderman” campaign a while back when they were announcing the Spider-man reboot. I couldn’t click the join button on that facebook group page fast enough. The beat is an appropriate anthem for a hero. Gambino is describing how his fame and success has made him a superhuman beyond the capacity of mere mortals. I’m the real deal. The only thing I don’t know is how afraid feels.

6. Track Ten: Glory

This song sounds kind of like another superhero anthem, but this has a more militaristic feel to it. While Hero was more Spider-man, Glory is Captain America. The music is incredible. CG harmonizes with himself and it makes the song equally beautiful and haunting. All I know, it’s what I came for, Glory. CG is out to conquer the rap game and some of the rappers out there should just throw down their swords now and save him the trouble.

7. Track Eleven: F*ck it All

This song is where CG takes a look at the emotional toll he has to pay for all of his succeess. The man shoots a TV show, performs live stand-up, and tours as a rapper. I don’t know how he does it but apparently it involves a lot self medication. This is a man on a mission and he will get there even if it kills him. I aint gonna be around forever, so f*ck it all.

We made it to the end, and I was not being completely honest. There is a little order to this list, this is my favorite song on the album.

8. Track Fifteen: The Last

This song hits me in the soul. For the first time in my life I was able to understand why Kurt Cobain had so many followers before the posers. This song is about CG growing up as Donald Glover, the smart and unpopular black kid in a white environment. 0:58-1:05 captured my adolescence perfectly. 1:07-1:16 is where I hope my life is heading. This song is…me.



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