Words from the Writer
Hello. I’m back again with another music review. This album titled “Awaken, My Love!” by Childish Gambino aka Donald Glover aka mcDJ aka Lando Calrissian? (….seriously, he was cast for Star Wars VIII). Either way, I’ve probably heard this album like 10 times already. I think I’m ready to give my honest opinion on this very experimental album.
Donald McKinley Glover was born on September 25, 1983. He is an American actor, writer, comedian, and musician. As a recording artist, he usually performs under the stage name Childish Gambino, and as a disc jockey, he performs under the name mcDJ.
He first came to attention for his work with Derrick Comedy and, with the help of Tina Fey, was hired at the age of 23 to become a writer for the NBC comedy series 30 Rock. He later played college student Troy Barnes on the NBC sitcom Community. He currently stars in the FX series Atlanta, which he also created. He has been cast as the young Lando Calrissian in the upcoming standalone Han Solo Star Wars movie (sigh…).
After several self-released albums and mixtapes, Glover signed to Glassnote Records in 2011. He released his first album, Camp, on November 15, 2011 to generally positive reviews. His second studio album, Because the Internet, was released on December 10, 2013. Glover was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2015, Best Rap Album for “Because the Internet” and Best Rap Performance for his single “3005”. Finally, Glover’s third album, “Awaken, My Love!” was released on December 2, 2016.
Alright, let’s talk about Donald Glover’s work. The album is pretty funk inspired. When I first heard it, I thought classic funk/hippie artist like Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, and obviously the Funkadelics. This album also having a collaboration with George Clinton, it all makes sense now. Seem like George had a huge guiding hand when it came to the sounds you hear in tracks like ‘zombie’ and ‘redbone’. This album is very intimate and talks about ideas of love and parentage. Being that he does have a young child, my guess is that this album was dedicated to his child. The whole album is about 49 minutes longs and has 11 tracks.
The first track ‘Me and Your Mama’ was the track that got me to really listen to the entire album and analyze the message. The track starts off really slow and almost mystical. It sounds like something you would feel comfortable smoking or relaxing to. It’s very smooth and immersive, almost puts you in a trance. But once we get to the middle of the track it changes pretty drastically. It gets really ‘rock’ influenced. This is where that Jimi Hendrix type guitar playing comes in, although the vocals still remind of old school Funkadelics. He sings with a lot of passion and energy, and he seems to be really giving his all to creating this new sound. This track in my mind was dedicated to his child. Throughout the rest album
Throughout the rest album, we hear positive lyrics about togetherness and love each other kind of stuff, especially in tracks like ‘Have some love’. As I said before, this album has huge Jimi Hendrix influence in tracks like ‘Zombie’. The track is very political and maybe directed towards the mass public. Almost trying to open people’s eyes to the manipulation and propaganda that surrounds us.
My favorite track was ‘Redbone’. It’s very funky and chill. He’s mainly telling people or his son to stay on your feet and always be careful for the people who want you. It really does feel like a warning if you think about it. I will say that high voice is really high pitched int his track (Honestly, I thought it was a girl singing it at first. Until I really listened). The overall production is really nice in this album. I really like the overall funky vibe it brings this album.
Now, the track ‘California’ is really a let down to me. The track is right after the best song on the album ‘Redbone’. His voice sounded so annoying and weirdly pitched. It’s seriously the track I always skip when listening to the album. That being said, this entire album felt like it was all over the place. No tracks were pretty consistent following each other. It’s like not much thought was put into the structure of the album, which throws off my entire vibe when transitioning from track to track as a listener.
I’ve listened to this album for a while now. I’ve listened to it at home, at work, while walking, and while driving. This album seems very dependent on your surroundings. What I mean is, you can’t fully enjoy this album while you’re working out or jogging. So many details and overall music would be lost and even skewed. I would recommend listening to this album while at home, in a chill environment.
Overall I really did like this album. The funk influence is easy to noticed, and I’m a big Jimi Hendrix fan. It’s hard to pinpoint any negative details that didn’t deliver a great experience, but I did my best to exploit flaws I heard. I recommend this album to anyone who likes Hip hop, classic 60’s 70’s rock, old school funk or music with great lyrics. Listen to it right here on Spotify. Also, their new album can be purchased on Amazon.
Like or hate the review I did? Have a question, comment, or concern? Let me know in the comment below. Don’t forget to also check out other music reviews on The EXP Grind.
- Strong experimental funk influenced
- A great album to pass onto his child
- Classic 60's and 70's rock influence on tracks
- Album felt like it was all over the place
- No tracks were pretty consistent following each other.
- This album seems very dependent on your surroundings