Friday, July 27th, 2018

Childish Gambino – Summertime Magic

Not so magical…


Juana Giaimo: Many people were disappointed by Childish Gambino’s follow-up songs to “This Is America”. However, listening to “Because the Internet”, you can find this juxtaposition of aggressive rap and pop melodies. Love and politics are both present in the album and, therefore, “Summertime Magic” shouldn’t be surprising. I’m glad he left behind the psychedelic falsetto and approached singing with the intensity of pop. “You are my only one/just dancing, having fun” could be a Carly Rae Jepsen line — the kind of lyrics that are straightforward and passionate. When the beat appears in the first chorus, the whole song changes: the tension diminishes and it all flows more relaxed — as when you suddenly realize that the other person is having fun with you too and that there is no need to worry. 

Tim de Reuse: The twanging synths and lanky rhythm of the instrumental communicate a sense of endless summer orders of magnitude more efficiently than do Glover’s aimless vocals. There’s a certain brashness in rhyming “only one,” “having fun,” and “shining sun” in a song that’s not aiming for surf-rock parody, which one could interpret as a kind of sincerity, but the rest of the song is far too self-seriously pristine to stoop to anything so endearingly goofy; no, I think it’s just some damn awful writing.

Thomas Inskeep: Well, he’s not getting to #1 with this limp wanna-be-Drake track, that’s for sure.

Will Adams: Given how “This Is America” positioned itself as satire, I wonder if this is also parody, between the plodding steel drums, moon/June/spoon rhymes and hokey rain stick sounds. The synth play in the last thirty seconds is a welcome change that offers a different spin on what “summer” sounds like — too bad it takes until then to really enjoy it.

Alfred Soto: I’m a sucker for bleeping backing tracks like this, and I can hear the intellectual challenge of a performer as, uh, present as Childish Gambino seeking anonymity, but “Summertime Magic” isn’t quite magical and very far from summer: an experiment in affectless cool.

Stephen Eisermann: Childish Gambino is a master of style. His music is almost always atmospheric, working to evoke a particular feeling or memory from the listener; but while it always makes the music interesting, at some point it becomes style over substance. Here, the production and repetitive chorus take me back to late nights at the club in Rosarito beach, but the music that plays in my memory fits better than this song – a song that feels like little more than well-made interlude. 

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