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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Childish Gambino’s ‘Atavista’ gives listeners a revamped look into the past

Amy Sussman/Getty Images

To start things off, I want to ask everyone reading this. Can music grow and evolve as if it were almost human? There probably isn’t an answer to that question, it’s just something to get your gears grinding.

Now, let’s kick it back to a time many of you likely choose not to remember very often. The day was March 22, 2020. That was the day Donald Glover, known by his stage name Childish Gambino, fully released his fourth studio album “3.15.20.” Back then, I was a scared high school junior with only half an idea of what I wanted to do with my future, and no clue if that future would ever arrive. 

During that time, Gambino’s music anchored a lineup of albums that kept me moving forward, never fully leaving my rotation. “3.15.20” and I were quite similar. We were two entities solid enough to take some sort of shape, yet fuzzy and unfinished, showing room for growth.

Over four years later, on May 13, Gambino released “Atavista,” a remastered edition of his 2020 release. This release dons a brand-new intro track, refined instrumentals and vocals and finalized titles for each song (most of “3.15.20”’s songs went by their timestamps).

My favorite songs grew and evolved. “12.38” is now “Psilocybae,” “19.10” became “To Be Hunted” and the final track “53.49” morphed into “Final Church.”

I grew and evolved. I’m still the same person, but now I’m more sure of myself, my skills and my future. “Atavista” is still “3.15.20,” but it’s clearer and cleaner. It’s even shed a few pounds by dropping some of the more extraneous songs that bloated “3.15.20”’s near-hour-long run time, including the fan-favorite “42.26,” also known as “Feels Like Summer.” 

Frankly, “Atavista”’s only misstep is the addition of a verse from rapper Young Nudy onto the tail end of the seventh track “Little Foot Big Foot.” It presents as a 90-second-long identity crisis. But this mistake can be forgiven for the sake of music growing and evolving as if it were human. We’ve all been there. 

“Atavista” and  “3.15.20” can still stand on their own as albums that can be listened to for different situations and moods. However, “3.15.20” was removed from select streaming services such as Apple Music and Tidal in preparation for “Atavista”’s release. The original album still survives on YouTube though. 

It’s not every day that you can leap between the person you are now and the person you were four years ago at will. You are always the same you at heart, but sometimes it can be comforting to observe the subtle changes you’ve made. They’re impossible to notice in real-time but can be beautiful once they take shape. 

While this was not a “new” release from Gambino, it can represent a new version of him before he releases another album this summer. He didn’t have to return to “3.15.20” and improve it. It was already a success. You can already be a success, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to keep getting better. “Atavista” is just that. 

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Michael LaRocca
Michael LaRocca, Opinion Editor

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