Donald Glover is never one for subtlety. His work reads blunt, rarely adding nuance to his thoughts or inspirations, whether that’s from his bordering on pretentious intellectual music, or his overtly pretentious, yet thought-provoking and at times brilliant show Atlanta His 2016 album under the Childish Gambino moniker Awaken, My Love!, as refined as it was, borrowed heavily from Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain. When Glover dropped the satirical “This Is America” in 2018, the Stone Mountain multihyphenate offered a coarse reflection of what it felt like to live in the United States. Even if Glover doesn’t always stick the landing on his ambition, he always has something to say.

With his work on Janine Nabers’ Swarm, Glover returns to the world of satire. Over seven episodes, he and Nabers detail the murderous rampage of Dre, a woman obsessed with the fictional artist Ni’jah — whose aesthetic and fanbase mirror those of Beyoncé. The series’ parody of real-life stanhood bleeds into Swarm’s accompanying EP, which sees Memphis singer Kirby taking the reigns as Ni’jah herself. In an effort to make the satire as blunt as possible, Glover interjects in a few of the tracks, connecting the lyrics to the show’s eventual direction.

The celebratory opener, “Something Like That,” borrows the drug-laden pop appeal from Glover’s last album as Childish Gambino 3.15.20, all while simplifying the lyrics to an extreme. “I got the beat, I got the heat, I got the fire,” Glover sings on the chorus before Kirby eventually chimes in with the shallow bridge (“Isn’t music beautiful, makes you feel alive”). As satire, the track can barely hold itself together. While the lyrics highlight its fictional fanbase’s tolerance for phoned-in writing, they don’t sound dissimilar to what’s popping on the Billboard Top 100. As an innocent pop song, “Something Like That” could convincingly soundtrack a backyard summer party without turning heads.

Glover’s thinly-veiled satire continues on “Big World” and the closing track “Sticky.” While still prescient in tone, “Big World” works better as mindless pop rather than a reverent satirization of a Beyoncé track. In the past, Kirby never quite sounded like her Beyoncé impersonation on the EP, but still manages to carefully craft a pop song worthy of radio play.

As the EP’s closing track, “Sticky” leaves little to the imagination. The track bluntly recounts Dre’s waning grasp on reality, proving Glover has yet to master the subtle art of parody. With lyrics pulled directly from the show’s story, the songs function mostly as cheap lore than added substance. Still, Glover’s insistence on borrowing his woozy aesthetic from his previous album is enough to deter from the shallow satire. Separating the EP from its source material makes the album sound more like a self-indulgent Childish Gambino B-sides album than it does a Beyoncé parody.

On the songs featuring Kirby alone, she embraces the freedom to imitate and contort the Beyoncé aesthetic as she pleases. The self-assured “Agatha” could pair well with the second episode’s themes, but also works as a female-empowerment anthem, not unlike her real-life counterpart’s work. “Adventure” and “Hahaha” rarely dive deeper in the Ni’jah ethos, instead relying on Glover’s psychedelic interests and generic couples dysfunction on their respective tracks.

The Swarm EP, much like the show, delivers more on thrills than it does on commentary. Glover and Kirby’s brief foray into making a pseudo-Beyoncé album works if only for the shimmering production and remarkable impersonations. What the EP can’t do, however, is properly contextualize stanhood. As far as pop music goes, Swarm may as well be a contender for overplayed tracks over the summer. If poignant satire was the goal, Glover missed the mark. If instead, Glover’s mission was to make a Childish Gambino-inspired Beyoncé project, then he partially succeeded at fusing the elements that make both artists work.