From being cast in an upcoming Star Wars spinoff, to the widespread success of his FX show Atlanta, Donald Glover has had what most would consider an amazing year. Musically, his last project STN MTN / Kauai, a dual mixtape and EP release, was met with mixed but mostly positive reviews from fans and critics. In Awaken, My Love!’s 11 tracks, Childish Gambino, Glover’s alter ego, commits to an album full of singing instead of his usual rapping and takes inspiration from funk and R&B of past generations.
The album feels like a more mature Gambino because his usual subject matter has been considered whiny and entitled. Rumors of his recent fatherhood have been confirmed and this album seems to be a confirmation of his own. With tracks such as “Me and Your Mama,” and “Baby Boy,” it’s clear this album is focused on a stylistic change and a reflection of an internal one.
The production on this album is the highlight, a clear homage to a time of funk, soul, and R&B with a contemporary flavor. This change, however, may be hard for fans of Gambino’s past work to swallow. He’s known for his fast paced, witty rapping style which attracted a lot of listeners who wanted something deeper out of their music. Fans of his older albums, such as Camp, will notice a drastic difference in style, tone, and subject matter. This album leaves that boisterous style behind so fans who are looking for another Because the Internet will be disappointed.
Awaken, My Love! is a love letter to the 1970s funk and soul genre that some fans may have a hard time adjusting to, but this is not by any means a failure. This album is an enjoyable, easy listen that deserves the time and attention given to Gambino’s previous projects.
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