Childish Gambino – “Awaken, My Love!” review

After seeing a bunch of success with his new FX comedy-drama Atlanta (which is actually one of my favorite shows on TV right now), it’s not too surprising for me to see Lancaster rapper/singer Childish Gambino dropping his 3rd full-length album just a month after the first season of his new show finished airing. In contrast to his last 2 albums which were primarily hip hop, this album sees Gambino experimenting with psychedelic soul throughout a vast majority of it. The album kicks off with it’s lead single “Me & Your Mama”, where Gambino’s singing to this girl he’s in love with over a funk rock beat. The track “Have Some Love” sounds VERY Parliament-Funkadelic inspired from top to bottom & lyrically, Gambino’s sending a sincere message to those who’re going through hard times & basically telling them that they should show love to one another. The track “Boogieman” has yet another funk rock sounding production but this time, he’s venting about the very recent violence towards police & African Americans. Might sound cliché to some since there’s been a lot of political music being made recently in light of Donald Trump being elected as our next president, but I personally find Childish Gambino’s hauntingly delivered vocals on here to enhance this track’s overall vibe. The track “Zombies” basically calls out the type of people who’re after him for his fame & the way this song’s sonically executed makes it this song makes it sound like a scary story being told. The track “Riot” lives up to it’s title in every aspect from it’s rock production to Gambino’s wild vocal delivery. The track “Redbone” has a smooth beat & lyrically, Gambino’s venting about how upset he is that his girlfriend cheated on him with another man & telling her that it’s too late for an apology. Might sound corny to some, but his vocal delivery on this song makes it more beautiful to me. The next track “California” talks about life in his home state & that this girl he’s seeing is trying to live her life like a Vine post. The production on here’s fittingly tropical sounding too & personally, I can absolutely understand where he’s going at lyrically on here especially since there are people these days who left social media control their every day life instead of living real life. The next track “Terrified” is kind of a sequel to “California” but in contrast to the previous track having a more party vibe to it, this one has a trippy beat & it lyrically sees him having a serious conversation with the same woman from the previous song. I really like the fast food wordplay on here, because I feel like it ties in with the song’s theme really well. The following track “Baby Boy” has a pretty funky/joyous beat & it’s dedicated to Gambino’s first born child, who was actually born just a couple months ago. The track “The Night Me & Your Mama Met” is a 3 & a half minute instrumental with romantic guitars, but the choir makes it sound spiritual to me as well. The album’s closer “Stand Tall” sees Gambino telling his son to stay strong no matter what & the lush production on here makes it feel like as if you’re actually listening to Childish Gambino singing this song to his son as he’s sleeping. Personally, I consider this to be Gambino’s most creative & ambitious work to date. I absolutely love the P-Funk influences he incorporates on here & while I do enjoy him as a rapper, I thought it was a nice change of pace to hear him primarily singing throughout because I’ve always found him to be a beautiful singer as well & he showcases it fantastically on here. I kinda wanna hear him spitting rhymes on his next project but on the other hand, I wouldn’t mind if he continues to make this style of music in the future at all

Score: 4/5

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