On Friday, Dec. 2, Childish Gambino released his fourth album titled “Awaken, My Love!”. This is arguably his most experimental album yet, delving into deep soulful sounds and eclectic styles.

The album begins with his teaser release song “Me and Your Mama,” a passionate song that features the texturous and rough voice of Gambino, overlayed on top of an operatic chorus and various deep backing tracks. It is an incredible opener to this innovative album.

The next song, “Have Some Love,” opens with heavy drums that blend into a chorus of soulful singers. The song features a muffled vocal sequence from Gambino on top of an organ progression and background vocal accents. This song brings the listener back to the hazy rooms of 1970 where soul began.

This leads into “Boogieman,” which explodes with deep choral vocals and heavy bass accents. Gambino’s synthesized vocals carry throughout the song with an underlay of funky guitar and bass riffs that lead into choral breaks.

“Zombies,” takes the vibe of the album down with slower beats, less layer-heavy background music and more organic vocals from Gambino. The song is somewhat sensual with soft female backing vocals. The same funky feel as the previous songs runs throughout this track, as well. This song, however, brings the listener to a fog-filled scene similar to the music video of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

“California” is a beachy track that features light-hearted piano chords with staccato guitar. Gambino’s synthesized, funky voice is overlaid on top of interesting background layers. This song combines influences from the ‘60s, ‘70s and today.

“Terrified” opens with a heavy, reverberating bass and a soft siren, bringing the vibe back down to a deep, soulful level. Gambino’s smooth, almost whining voice, leads the track into a heavily soulful track with vocal riffs, deep guitar riffs and choral harmonies.

“The Night Me and Your Mama Met” opens with acoustic guitar with modified electric guitar accents. The long intro leads into a smooth, almost haunting female chorus. Whining guitar riffs, reminiscent of 1970s rock, comes in halfway through the song and carries it to the end with heavy whammy bar accents. The song has no lyrics or vocals besides the chorus, letting the electric guitar serve as the main vocalist.

The ending track, “Stand Tall,” starts off slowly with quiet, funky guitar progressions. Childish Gambino’s full, unsynthesized voice breaks through the simple background. This is by far the most simple song of the album. The simplicity of the background instruments and female chorus allows Gambino’s strong lyrics pull the song along.

“Awaken, My Love!” in its entirety is Gambino’s most experimental album yet and heavily influenced by 1970s soul. It features funky vibes with a large amount of synthesized vocals and gospel-esque chorus background vocals. It brings the listener back to the times of hazy night clubs, colorful garb and large afros.

Featured Photo Credit: Feature photo courtesy of Donald Glover on Facebook.

Monica Pizzo is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at mpizzo@terpmail.umd.edu. 

One response to “Childish Gambino Album Review: ‘Awaken, My Love!’”

  1. […] In 2013, he released his second album, Because The Internet, and earned himself a nomination for Best Rap Album at the 2015 Grammy Awards. In 2016, he released his most recent, and arguably his most experimental, album Awaken, My Love!. […]

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