Music Video Review: Gambino's 'Sober' both unintelligible and brilliant


By Amelia Zak, Daily Music Editor
Published January 13, 2015


Childish Gambino

Doped up and peacocking for a pretty lady in a crappy diner is the premise of Childish Gambino’s newest music video for “Sober.” Donning cords and a cardigan, Gambino stumbles across a diner, overconfident and drugged, to converse with the curly-haired woman sipping at her soda. The lyrics paint the video’s storyline, “And now that it’s over / I’ll never be sober / and now I’m so high.” As the nervous diner chick starts to distance herself from the inebriated fellow with a pocket tee, the video transitions into an awesome 21st century mating ritual. Is this a stoner’s drug-induced fantasy? Or perhaps this is the classic correlation between drunken heartbreak and a rebound? Or is the diner chick his lost love? Who cares. The video’s intention is untellable and relatively unimportant in comparison with the simple creativity of Gambino’s performance. Funny, idiosyncratic and suave, especially following a clever admission of “I’M SO HIGH,” Gambino’s performance is viscerally enjoyable. This is a video not meant for excessive deliberation or analysis; instead, as a viewer, give this video a quick YouTube search and watch a great performer present a great performance.

Never before has a performance by Childish Gambino felt as close to the rapper’s true identity: comedian, actor, and screenwriter Donald Glover. Gambino, in comparison to Glover, has always appeared rougher, tougher and more capable of actually fighting Drake. Complete with carefree air guitar performances and magic tricks involving doves, the randomness and creativity underlying his additions draw the rapper persona closer to its highly intellectual counterpart.