Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Tear Jerker / Childish Gambino

Go To


  • The entirety of "Outside", which depicts Donald's family's crippling fiscal struggles when he was a child to the point where his mother had Donald and his siblings sleep with a screwdriver under their pillow in case someone broke in. Bino then connects this grim childhood memory to his present-day fame, and the evocative, reflective way in which he raps it just adds to the tearjerkerness.
  • "All the Shine," which has Bino describing his love/hate relationship with fame, to both Childish Gambino and to Donald Glover.
    My mom loved to text me Psalm verses
    She don’t look at me like I’m the same person
    • As if that wasn't enough, the song's outro is absolutely beautiful, with the song's instrumentals stripped down to the violins.
  • Advertisement:
  • The aforementioned song segues into "Letter Home," which reuses the violin to have Bino sing over it, addressing an ex that he still has feelings for, to possibly amp up the tearjerker factor.
    You're all I ever wanted...
  • "Heartbeat," in which Bino depicts the feeling of not being able to be with or have "the one", and the many emotions that can strike when you’re with girls you don’t love and still messing around with the ones you do.
  • "Kids", but for the reason that people will cry along to it because of how it sounds.
  • The spoken-word section at the end of "That Power," a speech that Bino recites that puts himself into the shoes of his teenage self, who fell in love with a girl at camp (who he is talking to in the speech). The entirety of the speech can make one emotional from nostalgic pangs, but the real wham is in the ending, when Bino says the following:
    I wish I could say this was a story about how I got on the bus a boy and got off a man more cynical, hardened, and mature and shit. But that’s not true. The truth is I got on the bus a boy. And I never got off the bus. I still haven’t.
  • Advertisement:
  • The music video for "Bonfire": The video starts with Bino waking up on the ground at night, with a broken noose around his neck. In the distance, he can see a camp counselor telling a campfire story to a group of campersnote ... and a guy with a knife approaching them that they do not see. The entirety of the video is of Bino rushing over to the group to let them know what's going on... but when he actually does by the end, they don't react to his presence, or even know he's there. And then the guy with the knife shows up... and it's another camp counselor, dressed up in the exact same way Bino is, complete with a fake knife. The campfire story was about Bino's own death, and the video ends with him realizing this before once again waking up by the tree.
  • Advertisement:
  • Camp in general is more bleak and depressing, just the fact it's all seemly about Glover makes it more heart-breaking, sort of hits a heavy Woobie territory, especially when Because the internet hits with his implied Creator Breakdown.

Because the Internet

  • "Flight of the Navigator" will make you want to rip your heart out. As if the context from the album wasn't bad enough (when The Boy wakes up in a hospital after dreaming of drowning and seeing the afterlife afterward), the song was inspired by a death that was personal to Gambino in real life. The somber lyrics and tender beat don't help.
  • The chilled-out sung sections of "Zealots and Stockholm" (the intro and outro), since Bino's vocal delivery will really make your heart ache.
    • "I'm a good son."
  • Despite it being a huge 2013 radio hit with a catchy hook, "3005" is heartbreaking, being a melancholy reflection on existential loneliness. Bino just sounds so tired and contemplative, it has to be something of a Tear Jerker.
    Sorry, I'm just scared of the future. 'til 3005, I got your back, we can do this, hold up...
  • "death by numbers" sounds extremely desolate already, but becomes even eerier once you read the screenplay and find that the song corresponds with the Boy attempting suicide via overdose.
  • "III. life: the biggest troll", the bittersweet finale of the album. The line between "artist" and "art" (or rather, Gambino and the Boy) is blurred to its maximum by Gambino, who comments on how disillusioned he's become with himself, failing to know who he is anymore. He finds that he's been fucked over and played by all aspects of life, from the music industry to relationships to his own self-image. How the song ends is especially sad; we hear Bino crying out "Please help me" over and over as the pitch of his voice escalates higher and higher and his pleas eventually dissolve into the background of the music.
    "Life's the biggest troll, but the joke is on us."


  • "Fuck it All." Damn.
  • The beach picnic remix of "3005". "In the year 3005...and the world I love is gone..."
  • "This is America" due to the dark meaning and truth behind it (as shown in the music video).
    • Speaking of the music video, there's the ending which shows Bino running away from a mob with a terrified look on his face.
    • There's also the video's possible Aesop, which is that people are so busy paying attention to the media and celebrities that they're ignoring America's current racial injustice, symbolized by Bino and the other dancers distracting the viewers from him killing several people and the chaos going on in the song's background. And most likely, when you first watched this video, you also paid more attention to the dancing and music than the background references.
  • "Feels Like Summer", despite having a relaxed tone and over 50 celebrity cameos in the music video, has quite a bit of this.
    • Most notable are the shadowed sections where Bino reflects on the flip side of the music world, which highlights, among other things, Kid Cudi's depression, Kanye West's Creator Breakdown (complete with Michelle Obama comforting him, implying he just wants love), the deaths of Fredo Santana and (possibly) XXXTentacion, Chris Brown crying, and portraits of a happy Michael Jackson and a peaceful Whitney Houston in their prime.
    • The whole video's possible Aesop, which is that people are busy paying attention to celebrity drama and such while ignoring the ongoing environmental destruction, which is symbolized by the immense number of celebrity cameos accompanied by the lyrics about the Earth dying with no hope in sight. And just like "This is America", the first time you watched this, you probably once again paid more attention to the former than the latter.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: