Childish Gambino, the artist occasionally known as Donald Glover, has given the world such musical genius as 3005, Feels Like Summer and Werewolf Bar Mitzvah. But like with any mainstream artist, you're not a true fan unless you've learned to appreciate his early work. No, not Bite My Shit. I mean the brilliant soundscape of his G.I. Joe theme song.
... the mixtape alternative cut, at least. While still becoming Gambino, Glover was a kid at a musical crossroads. As part of the brilliant/awful/brilliantly awful college sketch troupe Derrick Comedy, Donald recorded a collection of sultry Kid's TV show tunes, where the genre-hopping musical prodigy infuses the bright vivaciousness of Fraggle Rock with all the contractually-obligated vocal intensity of Van Morrison musing about ringworms.
There's a potent theme of love and loss (of childlike innocence) as the future Disco Spider croons about the sexual tension between the audience and these cereal box mascots. Just listen to his inspired take on the Care Bears theme song, where the listener can almost taste the sweaty desperation of Glover's desire to fuck these animated teddies ...
... Or how CG captures the haunting heartbreak that would come from falling in love with an underaged mutant turtle with an eating disorder.
But it's not all sexual tension and Tom Waits timbres. Flashes of Gambino's future genius already shine through in these cartoon songs. In the alternative, True Detective-esque Bananas in Pyjamas theme, one can clearly hear faint echoes of that greatest of slow jams, Redbone, as Glover uses haunting vocals and melodies to warn people to stay woke; those bad seeds are creeping.
And yeah, sure, Because Of The Internet is one of the best albums of all time and This Is America is the perhaps the most resonant protest song of our age. But elsewhere, perhaps in a timeline where the world is wonderful and we're all sporting snazzy mustaches, Glover would've taken a different path and lent his musical genius to elevate the Saturday morning cartoon slot to a higher art-form.
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