/ GLASSNOTE ENTERTAINMENT GROUP / SOUNDS GREAT
Ever since hearing Childish Gambino ramp up the sexiness appeal with a storming cover of Tamia’s ‘So Into You’ I’ve always wanted to hear Mr. Glover head into a similarly funky, electronic route for his own music, and finally that day has come. “Awaken, My Love!” has been hyped up tremendously by the sensual vibes of ‘Me and Your Mama’ and ‘Redbone’ within recent weeks and while the face might be creepy, I wanna hug Mama so, so, so much right now.
‘Me and Your Mama’ kicks off the record with a slow-paced intro that eases the listener into the ride. Spacey synthesisers provide a soft canvas for smooth harmonies and lady vocals to do their thang before a sudden shift in tempo and volume occurs, providing an astronomical shock. Strong basslines thump their way into the mix alongside Gambino’s strained vocals and a drum beat that knocks for six, firmly announcing a break away from the hip-hop sounds and into a confident stride of funkadelic goodness instead.
What follows is a journey that offers solid grooves and a little touch of insanity too. ‘Have Some Love’ jives it’s way into the hips with excellent drums and harmonies combining together to add a little feel good feeling to the mix, while the ‘Boogieman’ haunts those afraid of the funk with some chillingly tempting riffs. ‘Riot’ rushes the eardrum with a thunderous display of disco-y synths and group vocals out of the hizzy to truly ramp up the excitement and momentum of the record.
As always, ‘Redbone’ continues to be the highlight but the likes of ‘California’ offers something a little summery and weird to add another little dose of flair to the record. I’ve seen that the vocals have struck a polarising chord with listeners, but considering vocal shifts and pitch-changers seem to be running amuck on Awaken… it’s no surprise ‘California’ received the same treatment. Fortunately ‘The Night Me and Your Mama Met’ sticks to a pretty “normal” formula, providing all of the scratchy guitars and sensual goodness to have an evening and getting hot and bothered. Hot damn.
“Awaken, My Love!” is a superb album. Childish Gambino has taken a risk with keeping the hip hop elements to a minimum and has pulled out a record that is stacked with entertainment. The instrumentals are filled with excellent basslines, drumbeats, synth sounds and twists and turns to blow your mind. It’s a great end of year treat that could rank very highly on end of year lists for sure, and that final four minutes of ‘Stand Tall’….goodness me. It’s hot stuff, Gambino got the game.