But when it comes to his music, recorded under the name Childish Gambino, I’ve found it harder to enjoy. With the exception of the wonderful ‘Redbone,’ his second and third albums left me pretty cold. I see he released a fourth album this past March that totally missed my radar, so maybe I should give that a listen.
Childish Gambino dropped the video of the year right before he debuted his new song on Saturday Night Live last week. ‘This is America,’ a jarring but somehow catchy blend of gospel and trap, is a good song but a fantastic short film, one that has blown up the internet to the tune of 50 million views as of this writing.
Tackling gun violence, police brutality, Jim Crow, social media, black culture and a hundred other things, this is the video that launched a thousand think pieces, and I can’t pretend to be qualified to come up with one of my own. I’d rather let the video speak for itself.
Next up in my 2017 film recap is a group of films I’m labelling ‘Awards Contenders.’ These movies are either winning or at least in the conversation for the various critics prizes, Golden Globes, SAG, PGA, DGA, WGA, Oscars and you get the idea.
Studios often hold these award-bait movies until the very end of the year, so I still have quite a few to catch up on, including Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, Steven Spielberg’s The Post, Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying and Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name.
I find Childish Gambino more of a mixed bag. I adored his first full-length album, Camp, but couldn’t get through his second, Because the Internet. I like what I’ve heard of “Awaken, My Love!” so far and need to check it out in full.
While most year-end movie lists circle around the same batch of films, you’ll find TV lists that don’t overlap at all. I can name a dozen TV shows I’ve never seen that have shown up at or near the top of critics’ year-end lists, along with a dozen more I watch regularly.