Atavista by Childish Gambino album review by Christopher Patterson for Northern Transmissions



Childish Gambino

Childish Gambino has returned, after four years of high anticipation, to music with his new album, Atavista. It has been described by Gambino himself as the finalised version of his previous work, 3.15.20. Have you ever heard of it? Not the album, but the word. Atavista. It means the reappearance of the past in the future in things such as traits. That is quite a nice way of stating his purpose here. It is also a nice way to describe his album. A finished product. And a pristine one. Atavista is the work of sheer time and elegance felt in every lyric here and shines as one of Gambino’s most painstaking and diligent albums in his career and a nice return for one of the most significant artists in music of the 21st century.

The opener, “Atavista,” to best describe it, is indescribable. Mixing vulnerable lyrics with a blunt and peculiar production that nicely starts to blend together and capture a true starter for the album. It is a track that works well as an opening thanks to Gambino’s hypnotic vocals that are used as an entrance almost to the doors of Atavista. Atavista captures this extremely innovative nature of Gambino that has never been so well executed since his iconic, whirlwind of a series, that is Atlanta. Gambino here brings a strong cohesiveness and sharpens his grip and legacy as a timeless artist. After “Atavista,” we lead to a track of songs that can be described as an unforgettable experience that culminates in the fitting “Final Church” that cements Atavista as a work that requires attention. Not just to be heard, but to be read. The lyrics here deserve attention. The vocals deserve attention.

Atavista needs to be heard and takes you down the rabbit hole of reality to make you see why. One of the key aspects of all of this is execution and design. Gambino builds a maze here and has the key. The opener, "Atavista,” sets you up, Gambino takes you into the maze, and “Final Church” stops you at the exit. Many of Gambino’s works provide a unique and never-before-seen experience, but sometimes the issue is that they don't always work well as a whole. Such as with his show Atlanta, specifically Season 4, where areas could feel slightly too indulgent and lose sight of its execution. Here, everything is neatly put together. Here, Gambino manages each part of this album properly and never loses sight with indulgence or excessiveness. Here, simply, Gambino has found his stride.

Atavista is, quite simply, a nice send-off to one of the most bold and perceptive artists of the millennium. The vocals here are wide-ranging, to put it mildly, bouncing from line to line with a level of consideration to the tiniest quips in the production throughout that will catch many off guard. Even better is the vocal performance Gambino delivers. Gambino’s vocals convey this emotion that is ever-changing and always commanding with its purpose and thought. It truly feels as though Gambino had notes on every second regarding how each song plays out. It’s this boldness. This sheer thought gravitates Atavista to one of Gambino’s most brilliant albums. The songwriting and lyrics presented here work extremely well with the vocals and sound and capture this natural flow that gives this album wings to fly. Overall, Atavista stands as an indicator for perfecting and innovating your craft rather than throwing something out. Here, Gambino is intending to make art and speak to something, and he succeeds with few exceptions.

order Atavista by Childish Gambino HERE


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