While 2016 was not a great year for many (at least according to Twitter), the same certainly cannot be said for Donald Glover. His new television series, Atlanta, on FX, received massive critical acclaim and had one of the biggest cable debuts to date. Additionally, there has been buzz for months about a new album under his stage name, Childish Gambino, since his Pharos performance at Joshua Tree. There was a strict no-phones policy at this event, so coverage from different visual angles was not as widely spread across the internet as it would normally be. For those of us not fortunate enough to make it out to California for the Joshua Tree festivities, the wait for this project has been filled with anticipation and excitement, fueled by descriptions circulating on numerous insider sites and blogs. On Friday, December 2nd, the rest of the world finally got its turn. The album is titled “Awaken, My Love” and it is sure to awaken Glover’s fans to a deeper side of him.
The leading single, “Me And Your Mama” instantly indicated that we were in for a special treat with this album. Raw passion can be felt through out each turn of phrase, especially in places where he seems to be screaming at the top of his lungs while somehow finding the strength to hit each note with the right amount of finesse. A memorable section of this specific track comes at the bridge where he repeats the phrase “Girl you really got a hold on me, so this isn’t just puppy love.” twice, crooning in a manner that reminds all about the things we care about and long for (it’s a really deep cut). Aside from the eruption that was the intro track, the second single “Redbone” moved with more of a groove and told a more reined in story of timing and awareness, appropriate for a rained in night with your significant other.
Collectively, the album is essentially a funk/R&B fusion, in modern packaging and delivery. Needless to say, if you were looking for bars (from someone who is well known for them), you came to the wrong album. However, “Awaken, My Love” is not the least bit disappointing. Gambino has made a lane for himself in artistic expression that is not easily duplicated and extremely rare. Accomplished actors/comedians rarely achieve his level of success in the music industry, especially in Hip-Hop and R&B. He’s been able to defy the norm by having authentic genre-defying talent, and unparalleled story telling ability that has brought him success in each creative avenue. This album was a true testament to his creative range. Check out “Awaken, My Love!” here and on Apple Music: