“ Awaken, My Love”
Review Written By Brandon Morales
There have been many attempts in music to imitate the greats. Yet in the end countless artist just end up stealing the famous classic sounds we all know and love, leaving no distinct sound of their own left to be found on their album. But not Childish Gambino. The actor, writer, rapper, and so much more has now finally released his new album “Awaken, My Love”, which is not only a complete throwback and nod to the artist before him. But an unexpected left turn in his musical career, embellished with both a unique and quirky style of singing, not to mention a falsetto that Prince would approve of. The former community star has created a soulful, funktackular, epic of his own, and as the lovable Questlove put it, “Dude, I cannot curb my enthusiasm!”.
The opening title “Me And Your Mama”, is a track full of starry melodies and a powerful choir driven hook. This almost bluesy, funk, rock track shows off Gambino’s new style of singing in full effect. The song builds up with layers and layers of instruments adding on to it, eventually ending leaving the listener wanting more. The second track “Have Some Love” is clearly influenced by Funkadelic’s “Can You Get To That” with messages of love and unity combined with backing vocals on the chorus but takes an immediate left turn with Donald showing off another new style of delivery that’s used more frequently throughout the rest of the album. On this track Donald sets a funky groove and doesn’t let go of it. This is evident on Gambino’s next two tracks “Boogieman” and “Zombies” both more downbeat but still rocking a steady groove. On this track Donald talks about the troubles of racism, life and success. The choir on “Booogie Man” is heavy and adds a lot to the song. “Zombies” however has the choir in the background harmonizing underneath the guitar. It’s at this point in the album that it becomes very apparent that Donald is singing about the boy from his previous EP and album before. Continuing the narrative of “The Boy” as Donald named him on this album is never confirmed, however the listener could take away from the tracks on this album that Donald is in fact singing to his newborn child.
The album continues through a hard rock driven beat of “Riot” and the funky neo-soul like single “Redbone”, into the poppiest song of the album “California” catchy and almost incoherent. Donald sings and mumbles his way through another instant classic like its nothing. Donald then ends the album with moody and beautiful songs and messages to his child about living life to the fullest and following your dreams no matter what.
The production on this album is nothing short of amazing thanks to Donald’s trusted producer Ludwig Göransson. Use of so many instruments has never been done on a Gambino record before along with such melody driven songs. Donald is even playing on this album! Donald went into the making of this album saying it was an exercise in feeling and tone. Full of love, fear, envy, and sadness this album has plenty of feeling. There may be effects on Donald’s voice throughout this album, but it’s nothing short of self aware. Donald uses effects on his to help embody the futuristic sound and help it mix with the classic late 70’s funk this album was made after. The effects on Donald’s voice also help create a trance and allow the listener to be taken into Donald’s world. The most important thing to remember about this album is that it’s an album of layers giving you a new experience with every listen.With beautifully catchy and meaningful lyrics sung over a never before heard style presented by Glover this album is by far his best and without a doubt a one and only.
Follow Brandon on Spotify @ ” jamesgatz1920 “