“Awaken, My Love!” Album Review


Alexa Luttrell, Staff Writer

Donald Glover, more commonly known by his stage name, Childish Gambino, welcomed the month of December with a much anticipated album. “Awaken, My Love!”, Glover’s third album, made its debut on Dec. 2. Not having released new music in over two years, Glover’s fans have been waiting for what seems like forever.

Glover, who is typically referred to as a rap artist, leaves rap behind to experiment with new sounds. This new funky style has seemingly come right out of the ’70s. Glover’s use of soul has certainly been an adjustment for himself, as well as his audience.

Listeners from all over are surprised by Glover’s sudden change of tune. The majority of Glover’s fans know him from his rap career, but “Awaken, My Love!” portrays more of a funk vibe. The first track, as well as the first single released, “Me and Your Mama”, introduces the album with an eerie feeling. Glover’s voice is almost unrecognizable as he practically screams over the dark, soul-filled track.

The second single released by Glover, titled “Redbone”, is much less intense. Glover steps back with a lighter, higher voice that immediately leaves the audience with a calm, relaxing feeling without destructing the ongoing ’70s theme of electric guitar and funky bass. This track makes the listener feel as if they’ve traveled back in time while still maintaining lyrics relevant to present day problems such as race equality.

“Boogieman”, which is the third track on the album, also surrounds the issues of race and oppression in the African American community. Glover sings about being viewed as a villain due to the color of his skin, labeling himself as the “Boogieman”, which is a play on words. He alters the name of the famous monster, the Bogeyman, to include the word “Boogie”, a style of music that originated from the African American community. The song addresses Glover’s frustration with the issue of police brutality and discusses the comfort he finds in music.

Funk isn’t the only new sound Glover is experimenting with. “California”, the seventh song on the album, introduces a somewhat reggae style of music. Glover deepens his voice and uses an animated tone while the upbeat soundtrack behind him creates a breezy island-like feel.

The album slows down a bit towards the end with the instrumental of “The Night Me and Your Mama Met”. This song, which almost serves the purpose of a reprise to “Me and Your Mama”, continues the feeling given off in the first track. The lack of lyrics in this piece gives the listener room for the imagination as they begin to piece the story together.

The album finishes strong with the inspirational “Stand Tall”. This song leaves other topics such as love and oppression behind for motivational lyrics of self-love and positivity. Glover sings, “Keep all your dreams, keep standing tall. If you are strong you cannot fall”, something he learned from the advice of his parents while growing up. Glover encourages his listeners to learn from their mistakes and stay positive throughout their hardships.

So what happens when a rap artist releases an album with absolutely no rap? It’s bound to be controversial. For those who are more open to different types of music, this album is an incredible, almost spiritual experience. However, those of who are only comfortable in the rap genre may find it a little tough to get used to. Although many different opinions have surfaced, “Awaken, My Love!” is without a doubt an interesting listen.
Rating: 4/5 stars