“ 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 “
Our longest episode ever is PACKED TO THE BRIM with that music talk you love so much. We had frozen margaritas too, so things get loud and ridiculous. Even more than usual.
Continue reading “Episode 67 – Me No Conversate”
This has been the busiest weekend I’ve had in a very long time.
A few months ago, I heard about this festival called The Art of Cool out in Durham, NC. It had a lot of amazing acts attached to it, and since it was only about a six hour drive from here in Atlanta, I decided that I’d try and make time to attend. Then, some amazing women (shout out to Asiah and Sierra, even though neither of you could make it) had an even better idea: why not try and apply for press credentials?
In my mind, that’s a crazy idea. No way will that work. Why would a guy like me, someone with a small-time music podcast with a barebones website, ever get to have access to talk to artists like Anderson .Paak face to face? And yet, despite my pessimism, I was definitely accepted in the group for passes! So I took off a day from work, linked up with my high school friend Chris Russ (aka @faruhdey), and got into one of the greatest weekend experiences of my life. Listen to all of our stories, including casually running into Maségo and finding out he’s from the 757, re-encountering All Cows Eat Grass from the Hiatus Kaiyote concert, hearing Terrace Martin and Rapsody speak on To Pimp a Butterfly, and SO much more. (It’s a long episode, we barely had time to actually talk about new music!)
You ever listen to a song once, then go back and listen to it later, somewhere else, and it’s changed somehow? Continue reading “Episode 56 – Who Keeps Updating My Music?”
Just found out it’s pronounced DAHM-oh. My bad, bro.
Continue reading “Domo Genesis – Genesis Review”
I’m not going to lie, I’ve been sitting on this one for at least two weeks, trying to figure out how to go about talking about the album without sounding really middling. The gist of it is this: I like this album, but I’m not good at remembering what I like about it unless I’m playing it. No joke, I’m actually playing it in the background as I type this so I don’t lose track of what I want to say.
Friends of mine and listeners of the show whose tastes I trust have been telling me about this group for a while, and like I usually ended up doing, I added Flatbush ZOMBiES to the ever-growing list of “Artists People Keep Telling Jason To Check Out But Jason Will Get Around To It Eventually When He Stops Playing The Same Stuff Over and Over Again.”
One day, not even a few months ago, someone shared “Palm Trees” from their mixtape BetterOffDEAD and I wanted to beat myself up for not peeping them sooner. The next step was to check out the whole tape, and the whole time… I mostly found myself waiting on “Palm Trees” to come back around. I only remember that song and “222” if I’m being honest with you. That same sentiment, unfortunately, carries over to 3001: A Laced Odyssey.
Don’t let that last paragraph get you down. Again, I like this album. These guys can rap. Meechy Darko is strange but memorable (I specifically remember him from a cut on Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s Piñata) and they all do a pretty good job of moving with the beats here, a lot of which I think are great. There’s just nothing that truly STICKS out of all of this for me. And I’ve listened to this album five times trying to pull out enough to write some words down for it. Some of the beats feel hollow and the guys struggle to fill the void sometimes. But there wasn’t anything that was BAD, which is why I feel so weird about what I’m writing.
(For those that are new here, my general rule of thumb is that I don’t write or talk about music that I don’t like or that I wasn’t interested in to begin with.)
Anyway, that’s what I walked away with after listening to this new album. I realize it’s not much. There were a lot of great moments here, like with the intro, “Bounce”, “A Spike Lee Joint” (my personal favorite), and some beats like “Ascension” and “Trade-Off” really bang. There was also a lot of fluff here to extend the runtime, like the interlude “Fly Away” and the last eight minutes of “Your Favorite Rap Song.”
Would I ask someone to turn this off if it was playing in the car? Not at all.
Will I be peeping their next project? Definitely!
Can I confidently suggest this album to a friend? Not really.
You happy, Dom?
Bounce, A Spike Lee Joint
Have you listened to this album yet? Am I crazy or do you feel the same way? Did I listen wrong? Drop your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading. And check out the new episode of the podcast while you’re here!