Wowza folks, here we are. Mr. Donald Glover, mastermind behind so many beautiful treasures in our world, has done it yet again. His newest work, “Awaken, My Love!”, has finally been released after a two year hiatus from releasing new music, aside from tracks included in the beautifully written and produced FX series “Atlanta“. For me, the direction of this album is refreshing and unpredictable, yet not surprising. Glover, and as his alter ego counterpart Childish Gambino, has evolved so much as a human and in his art form over the past seven years. When word spread of a new album from the magical Pharos festival in Joshua Tree, California this past September, I immediately felt apprehensive. I refused to get my hopes up for an album I was not sure would be released. With all of his other projects, and the daunting new role of being a first time father, I couldn’t imagine how he could accomplish anymore at the same time. Boy did I underestimate Donald. I couldn’t fathom the idea of a brand new set of tracks from this man that has influenced my life and musical preferences so much over the years. Trying imagine of the contents of his next project made my head hurt. But, he did it. Here we are, and my head hurts in the best way possible.
I would love to write a track by track analysis of my listening experience, although my entire body melts and disintegrates the moment I press play!
- Track 1: Me and Your Mama
Heart soars out of body into the Gambino heavens and listeners quickly realize it is too late to turn back. I feel like I’m in a church in the middle of the solar system and Gambino is preaching with all his might. That’s really it.
- Track 2: Have Some Love
Don’t know why, but Gambino is sounding like an intergalactic Ray Charles-Stevie Wonder love child to me and I am loving it so much.
- Track 3: Boogieman
Much like the previous track, I’m getting that intergalactic 70’s feel and couldn’t be happier about it. This time, I’m drawing similarities between Gambino and Earth, Wind, and Fire. At the end of the song, Donald goes IN with the vocals, they’re Donald Fegan like and so very beautiful. (all artists my dad listens to….does this mean I should show him Bonfire??) And that creepy laugh at the end? That’s when you know it’s only getting better from here.
- Track 4: Zombies
Thank you thank you thank you Donald for allowing us to hear this VOICE. We’ve always had a glimpse in songs like “Hold You Down” from Camp (2011), “Urn” from Because the Internet (2013) (one of my all time favorite songs), “Sober” from the Kauai/STN MTN mixtape (2014). But wOAh, I’m so grateful to have this voice shine down upon us in such great quantities.
- Track 5: Riot
James Brown vibes continue and it is golden. ~~~
- Track 6: Redbone
This is the kind of song that just feels right. The psychedelic vibe at the end can unite every nation on earth I swear. Redbone just makes sense to the body, mind, and soul. #staywoke #staywoke #staymfwoke
- Track 7: California
I need to be on a beach in California asap ya’ll. This one is so Abbymel and I love it. The intense fluctuation in his voice is so entertaining and exciting while being soothing at the same time. Swaying back and forth forever and ever.
- Track 8: Terrified
That synthesized melody. . . . . Imagine this song live. Should have walked to Joshua Tree from Tampa I knew it. The end ballad is another “heart ascending to Gambino heaven” moment and it’s a lot to handle *warning*.
- Track 9: Baby Boy
The beautiful guitar in that background takes me back to the “Chill Grill” in the That So Raven DS game and that in itself is the biggest accomplishment. Gambino sounds like he is singing to me and to me only and it’s real nice let me tell you.
- Track 10: The Night Me and Your Mama Met
woah woah woah woah woah. wo ah. Ok. This is the life altering one of the album for me. It’s the perfect pause before the conclusion of the album, forcing listeners to reflect on the insanity of the journey Gambino has just led them on. This is for sure the “Urn” of the album for me. I must lay on a flat surface staring upward with no technology or lights and soak in this song because it’s so simple but effective.
- Track 11: Stand Tall
The fluctuating warping guitar opening the track already makes me depressed because I know it’s all about to end and I cannot have that happen. Ok, may have to change my mind. The feelings from “The Night Me and Your Mama Met” also apply to this. It’s all fun and games and nice guitar riffs until his voice begins to belt and your body and mind will be frozen I guarantee it. There are no words for it. Go listen this instant.
Go listen right now. Make your friends listen right now. Make your family listen right now. Make your pets listen right now. Drive through the streets blaring it. Help others help themselves. Gambino has the power to do what nobody else can.
Gambino’s second album “Because the Internet” is what made me fall in love with this entire community and way of life. I got the CD for Christmas in 2013 and in that moment I knew I had to abandon my horrendously brainwashed, top 40 loving, 13 year old mind and experience hip hop and bOY am I glad Gambino was the man to show me this world.