REVIEW: Because the Internet
Because the Internet
Artist: Childish Gambino
The “actor-writer-rapper” gig was cool until all of Donald Glover’s talents got muddled into one very confusing concept album. Paired with a stream of social media confessions, a short film and eventually a 75-page four-act screenplay, Because the Internet is a classic example of too much style and not enough substance. While art across multiple mediums can sometimes make an idea more coherent or more moving, in the case of Gambino’s most recent album, the extra baggage only highlights the record’s inability to stand alone from the rest of his material, and leaves the listener with a confusing 57-minutes.
Gambino has talent. His first effort Culdesac, was a transparent and deeply personal record. It showcased his darker emotions and contextualized his diverse artistic environments. His follow-up Camp represented an improvement in all aspects of his craft, with smarter lyrics, better flow, and more interesting production.
Unfortunately, Because the Internet seems to have halted Glover’s progression, replacing it with occasionally stale production, and a flow that favours speed over content.
Too often Internet’s songs abandon conventional verse-chorus structure, and instead ramble between a strange fusion of trap production, and dizzying stops and starts. Songs like “3005” show that the album could have been great – classic Gambino – but instead, these songs are followed by “Flying with the Navigator” which forces the listener to sift through the strange, spoken-word style of a distorted Gambino, and slow arpeggios of a guitar. All of it feels pretentious and unnecessary.
Thankfully, “Sweatpants,” “Crawl,” and “3005” are among some of the tracks that help stabilize the album, and give fans what they wanted. While it may not be perfect, fans of Childish Gambino should still give Because the Internet a try, if only to hear those tracks.