On the sharp and soulful savvy from Childish Gambino’s ‘Awaken, My Love!’
The rapper takes a completely new direction with his music, and it's amazing.
December 02, 2016 at 2:00 pm
Childish Gambino relieved the heaviness from our eyelids and yanked us into his world of psychedelia on his latest (and arguably greatest) album to date. Awaken, My Love! is an 11-track roller coaster ride of sounds that pay homage to the era of funk, R&B, and soul. Though the songs are free of spitfire lyrics and charging bars, we are still soothed with amazing instrumentals and vocals that are, as best as it can be put, music to our ears.
From subtle crooning to powerful screeching, nothing about this body of work seems unnatural to the talented Donald Glover. The opening track, “Me and Your Mama”, paints a vivid scene where we enter the world of Glover/Gambino. It’s calming for the first two minutes, then takes a sharp left to a darker side, into the depths of scorned lover’s cries as he begs for his lover’s return.
“Zombies” is a subtly electrifying track with elements that are reminiscent of the late Rick James and his ability to make sex pour from your speakers. On “Redbone”, Gambino carries the snap-accented, sultry funk to lull and sway you. The guitar riffs on “Terrified” juxtapose its hush breaks beautifully, while “The Night Me and Your Mama Met” holds its heavenly harmonies throughout three-and-a-half minute scale.
Ludwig Göransson, a longtime partner in Childish Gambino’s musical career, has a heavy hand in production on this third album. Inspired by The Isleys, Funkadelic, and “’that ’70s black music that felt like they were trying to start a revolution,” as he told Billboard in November, Gambino makes a bold reach for nostalgia, grabbing the sounds that soothed generations before us, and reintroduced it in 2016.
Awaken, My Love! is undoubtedly an innovative and masterful project, with a huge nod to the same music that our parents boasted to us that we knew nothing about. Childish Gambino expands his sonic reach on his latest album.
Awaken, My Love! is available on iTunes.