Friday, 23 February 2018

Childish Gambino "Awaken, My Love!" (2016)

Upon its release I was immediately drawn to the memorizing, neon yet tribal album cover, It sucked me in, I wanted know more. After hearing just a single track on Youtube I was buzzing with excitement and then some how... its two years later. Only now have I finally gotten around to this record and I have clearly missed out on music that will keep giving for years to come. The multi talented Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino, who got the persona name from an online Wu-Tang name generator, ditches his rapping and follows his gut for a truly inspired wild ride.

"Awaken, My Love!" Is a bold and vivid, psychedelic journey through shades of 70s sounds re-imagined with a bright, colorful intensity that's lively and engrossing. Its a luscious tapestry of sounds, never static, always animated, going through the motions as a wide pallet of instruments get involved between songs. The infectious grooves of Funk, sensibilities of Jazz, soothing vibrations of Soul, the jive of Disco and singing voices of R&B all echo through a trippy, humanistic soundscape. The union of electronic and natural instruments is effortless and a keen ear can hear such a wonderful array of sounds working in tandem, it all sounds gorgeous.

As a record its a fun experience but its not without its flaws. Despite every song having its own flair, a lot of the tracks slip into feeling more like jams than songs built on direction. As a result much of the record feels interchangeable, sometimes grounded and other times loosely themed. Where Donald moves from rapping to singing his presence isn't that powerful and his full singing voice is not far off the mark but it feels like he compensates with artistic inflections and stylized, softer vocals on most tracks. As a result he is rarely the focal point of the music and all to often his backup singers outshine him. When he comes to the front, his quieter approach lulls as the music often outpaces him.

This is a small picking in a big package, this album is loaded with goodness but sometimes these details let you understand whats holding it back from becoming greater. There's a lack of hooks or punchy moments and little of the singing gets stuck in the mind. The music plays like an ooze of flowing awsum that's just to fall where it may. Its needed a bigger helping of direction and focus but despite that its still really wonderful. Shame its the last from Childish Gambino who has retired the project.

Favorite Tracks: Me And Your Mama, Riot, Redbone, Terrified, Baby Boy
Rating: 8/10