Following his hist viral #1 single, “This Is America,” Childish Gambino has released a two-song EP entitled Summer Pack. The two new songs mark a stark sonic shift from the gritty, trap-inspired production of “America.” On Summer Pack, Gambino returns to the funk vibes that made him a music powerhouse on 2016’s “Awaken, My Love!”
The first song, “Summertime Magic” easily sounds like a leftover from the Awaken recording sessions, but that’s not to say the song is bland. With a more analog approach to his vocal production and a breezy afrobeats, dancehall, and deep house notes, “Summertime Magic” is a jam. It’s a summer love song that is more easily accessible than “America,” but just as arresting. On the other track, “Feels Like Summer,” Gambino blends a light marimba sound with dry guitars and vocoder coated vocals. The funk inspiration lives on in the form of his strong falsetto and melodic arrangements, but the repetitiveness and the relative weakness of the hook do hurt the song.
Between “This Is America,” “Summertime Magic,” and “Feels Like Summer,” what can we expect from Gambino’s next album, presumably his last? Well, the three tracks are simultaneously political and apolitical but are all connected by different hallmarks of black music (trap, gospel, hip-hop, funk, soul). Whether the entire album is more sonically akin to “America” or “Magic,” it is sure to be an unequivocally great release.
SUMMERTIME MAGIC: 85
FEELS LIKE SUMMER: 70