Forward. The following is a album review of Childish Gambino's "Camp" told in the form of story and reaction. Each song from the album is accompanied by a subsequent story or reaction to the experience I personally feel. This should be read for inspiration and entertainment. Lastly, consider listening to the album while you read along for an enhanced experience. Thank you.
1. Outside. Its 12:02 AM Friday morning, December 2019. Christmas is just five days away, but it might as well be tomorrow. I haven’t really put much thought into gifts for people this time around. My dad just bought me the laptop I’m currently typing on and this is technically the first thing I’ve really used it for. The keys feel different, the lights are nice to look at, and the screen is smaller. I look forward to opening it every morning and I’ll be honest; the predecessor needed some work. The file transfers are finished except for one that seems to be having some trouble loading. I try clicking on the document multiple times but I’m not seeing anything change. I guess I need to open the old computer to see what happened. The title seems to also be affected somehow. It only reads: “All I wt w to go ou.” …I’ll have to get back to this later. I need to start packing for my trip.
2. Fire Fly. It’s Christmas Eve tonight. The air is filled with smiles, warm feelings, and a general sense of well-being. Family and good friends are what makes this holiday possible. You’re on the couch listening to your favorite holiday song “Wonderful Christmas time” and having a glass of your favorite red wine. The sky outside has already turned dark. The reflection on the glass is all you see as you gaze outward away from the mood of the party. Squinting slightly, you try to look past your own face and see outwards toward the darkness, but you only find the night. There’s is something there actually, its faint but beautiful. It’s a sparkle that seems to fade into the night after becoming present briefly. You can’t help but hold your gaze to this light, for it is everything you’ve ever wanted. Nothing else besides this yellow light. Should you tell someone about it? No, not now. Now is your moment to be lost in finding yourself in the reflection of the glass.
3. Bonfire. The air feels perfect tonight. I want two things: To get drunk and kiss a girl when the ball drops. (I mean the ball in Texas not New York since they’re one hour ahead of us). Tonight, I find myself at a Gatsby-style party in Terrel Hills, San Antonio. The year is 2017, which means 2018 is set to be a brand-new year of possibilities and relationships. I’m dressed down, as I usually am for New Years, but the weather is still getting to me with its chilly wisps. I don’t mind so much on account of the whine and margaritas I’ve been drinking. The backyard is large with a pool, a few heat lamps, and a single patio fireplace that has people crowded around sharing stories and being happy. The flames burn brightly as my head begins to swim with the intoxication of new beginnings and delicious wine. I suddenly realize I’m probably the only one here who plans on taking notes of the evening for later. How could I not? It’s hard to hear her over the clamoring of guests and bottles, but I can still read her lips. They look glossy as she sits next to me on the couch by the warming fire. This night just seemed to escalate to an even better standard. I’m suddenly approached by a new face only seven minutes before midnight and all I want to know is if she would like a kiss. I’m so ready to ask. Here’s to 2018.
4. All The Shine. What’s your name? I don’t care who you are I just want to be here. Right here looking at the flames in your excited eyes. I think there was something going on that night. There should always be some relief about the new year to come. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the first of the month or nine months later, I still feel every moment from that night. We took a few pictures together, shared a story about our personal lives (which seemed preemptive but felt good at the time), and drank until we became comfortable with each other. The whole time I ignored my texts and calls from the friends I came in with. They were pretty pissed that I was nowhere to be found but I could’ve said something at least. I didn’t even know her, but it felt like we had always known each other. Drunk or not, this felt too good to not savor for as long as time would allow. Even if it was just this time. Once again, it was.
5. Letter Home. Dear Boy, have you ever felt this way? I don’t even know what ‘this’ was in the first place. Maybe just right time and right place, I guess. Just wanted to finally admit that I did like you. I also DID enjoy every little, stupid, funny, boring, happy, sad, comfortable, and better moment while together. Don’t feel bad if I never end up responding if you write me back because my address is always changing. I probably won’t know what to say anyways, we’re so far away now. Good luck with everything you do after today. I promise I’ll smile when I think of you. If we ever meet again, I hope we get more than one night. Sincerely, Girl. (Bottom of page) XoXo.
6. Heartbeat. “Would I get to see her again?” “Did she actually like me or was it the alcohol?” “Should I send her a good-night text, or do I try calling?” “I she even single?” “What just happened and when can I get more?” That’s all I could think about on the car ride home. It was late, like past 3 AM late. I wasn’t even drunk anymore but rather tired with a smile on my face. Yeah, my friends teased me a bit about how I was exaggerating my experience from tonight, but they didn’t need to know about us anyways. I wanted to text her more, but I guess she had already gone to sleep. That night I sat in bed looking at the pictures we took together and the smile from earlier just kept getting bigger. For once I didn’t feel alone.
7. Backpackers. It feels so good today. I’m finally starting my year off right with somebody who thinks I’m great. Me. Oh the girl from earlier? We’ll get back to that later. Today is a perfect day to be outdoors for a little bit of hiking. Plus, it gives me time to take a breather and think about how I’m not drinking anything until this hangover is gone. Alright then I’ve waited long enough, lets get back into it.
8. Les. What’s your name? Midnight came and with it an unexpected but very good kiss with this girl I barely met half an hour ago. She smiled when we finally pulled away while the rest of the party popped champagne and screamed with excitement. Bottles were spraying everywhere, girls laughed as their partners lifted them in the air, confetti seemed to fall from the ceiling and all the while I held her hand as she led me back inside. The stairs spiraled upward to a long hallway with rooms on either side. I thought I heard my name being called from downstairs as we checked for an unlocked door, but I ignored it. Let them look for us if they want to; we were too busy getting lost. “The third door on the left is a bathroom” she says laughing while holding my hand and guiding me down the hall. Nothing can bring me down right now, I’m so happy. With the door finally closed behind us, we pick up where we left off from earlier. I’m captivated by how she looks in that dress tonight. I clean up pretty good myself with a suit and tie. I could care less about a few wrinkles on my shirt and a missing Perry Ellis necktie. How long could we stay here before people come looking? I think we both knew we couldn’t just stay here all night, but what if we could? There’s plenty of sink water to drink and I could sneak downstairs to the fridge while the homeowners slept. There’s a lot racing through my head right now and not much coming out of my mouth besides the occasional confirmation as she guides my hands over her. Wait…what’s your name again?
9. Hold You Down. I’ll always think back to that night. As I climb the stairs, take the elevator, or fly to a faraway destination, I’ll always think “I wish you were here.” What’s bad is my friends aren’t interested in any part of that story. “Get over it you’re wasting my time, it’s in the past bro.” That’s ok, they see what they want to see. I’ll shine a light on the story because it’s ours and it feels good.
10. Kids. Time passes and to tell you the truth, I don’t know where she is. I still see her in a lot of things these days. I’m doing better now, and I met someone new, but I still think back to when you wanted me too. The flowers only look nice sitting on a table for two. All I really wanted is a chance to tell you the truth. Whether it’s a poem or a song, it’s always written for you.
11. You See Me. I remember when I thought money would solve everything. Back when I had nothing it was never fair, but these days I finally get what I want. It’s chaotic when you move up in life but it sure is fun. I guess this was worth all the sacrifices. Yeah, I’m empty but my glasses are full, and the bedroom is plus one. Everyday is something new to get into with no sign of slowing down. It feels like I was born to do this. Just being me.
12. Sunrise. Congratulations it all paid off in the end and every day is a new beginning. They hate you so much when you’re blowing past resistance. You think you know me? If not allow me to introduce myself. I’m me and these are the dreams I’ve been chasing since I went to Camp.
13. That Power. “All I ever wanted was to go outside” This was always a metaphor about the winter I spent at Camp. I learned that there’s so much more to life when you act selfless and give more than you take. I also found out that this thing called ‘love’ that everyone talks about in the movies and songs does exist and it’s awesome. It can also be terrible. Not because it doesn’t last, but because it doesn’t always feel like it’s supposed to. It’s complicated. Anyways, that was my first real experience with it. Maybe time will one day reveal that none of it was true and it was all just a big dream or some shit. Who really knows. I’d like to think it all happened for a reason; that’s not to be marginalized to the stars aligning or some sign from God. I’ve already stopped asking why at this point. The truth is I don’t feel bad about wanting to go back again. It’s impossible at this point so why not be inspired by the thought of going back? Yeah, I might have struck out bad. I may have had a dramatic realization that the world is cold and lonely most of the time. The thing is though, I learn something that year. I learned that I’m never going to lose that feeling of waking up with a smile every day. I’ll never stop holding myself on the shower floor feeling alone. So ill split the difference and embrace me for a change. The good and the bad times. I’m glad I went to Camp. I never really left and that’s alright with me.
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