After 3 years, Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) has finally released a new album. The LP is titled Awaken, My Love! and it looks like it might be the final step in Glover’s departure from hip hop. It features no rapping whatsoever and we could probably spend a good while debating exactly which genre of music it belongs. One thing is certain though: it’s an amazing tribute to the 70s.
The man responsible for the production of Awaken is Glover’s longtime friend and collaborator Ludwig Göransson. After first couple minutes you can already tell they both had a very clear vision of what they wanted to do with this LP. Göransson successfully recreates the 1970s production with distorted guitars, snappy drums and ubiquitous backup vocals drawing from genres such as funk, soul and R’n’B. And while musically the album could successfully pose as a vintage work, it doesn’t really try to do that. Yes, the lyrics are often pretty cliché but Glover doesn’t try to hide who he is and which generation he’s from. He openly pays tribute to his many inspirations and musical forefathers. These range from Prince to Parliament-Funkadelic, and you can easily tell that he has put a lot of heart into learning and understanding the music he respects.
The only real issue with Awaken, My Love! is that a lot of the tracks fall short of being amazing, and it feels like some of them are there just to “pay tribute.” Songs like “Redbone,” “Me and Your Mama,” and “Stand Tall” are probably one of the best Childish Gambino has ever created, but this just isn’t enough for an 11 track album. That said, it still is a very interesting experience that takes you back to the 70’s, and shows how much of a talented man Donald Glover is. Definitely worth to give it a listen.
Awaken, My Love! is available now on iTunes. Stream the entire album on Spotify below: