“Awaken, My Love!” Review

Yanne Diogenes, Staff Writer

Although it has been over a month since Childish Gambino released his newest album, Awaken, My Love!, people are still going crazy about his music and new style. One of the best things about this album is Gambino’s voice. He changes it various times and is most impressive during “Redbone”, one of the singles from the album. Following the release of the album, and all of the backlash it received from being a complete 180 from his past albums (aka it’s not rap), he said that “the world doesn’t have enough weird music,” and that he was very much inspired by “70s black music,” and he made sure to put more of those things out into the world.

The album starts with Me and Your Mama, which was released as a single. It starts off mostly instrumentally with some chimes, keyboard sounds and harmonies, but then goes into a much harder beat and faster pace. This song is a great way to open the album and a good preview of the way it’s going to flow.

The album hits some high points but one of my favorites is track four,Zombies. This song talks about how there’s always someone among us at all times and how they may be “creative leeches,” meaning they want to steal your success and your creativity that causes you to have success, evident in the line “we’re eating you for profit, there is no way to stop it.” The song itself has a very calm feel to it, despite its lyrics.

Track six,Redbone, is my favorite on the album. This song talks about him trying to make a relationship work while his partner is cheating. In the chorus he repeats “stay woke” which means to stay aware or alert, in this case, to stay aware of your partner cheating. In the second verse he says “too late, you wanna make it right, but now it’s too late” and “I’m trying not to waste my time,” meaning he’s not trying to waste his time in this toxic relationship. The song itself is very pleasing to listen to because of the harmonies and how Gambino decided to present his voice on this song. It sounds nothing like his past music, like most of the album, but it was pleasantly shocking to hear that he didn’t use any type of auto-tune on this song. I think that out of all of the songs on this album, this is the one to stand out the most because of the depth of the lyrics, the harmonies, and the way Gambino wasn’t afraid to naturally alter his voice to make the song stand out even more.

Sadly, this album isn’t completely all high points. Track seven,California, is not the best. I feel that he was taking a risk with this song, but it just didn’t turn out so good. The music style, I would say, is completely different from the album, and really anything. If that was what he was looking for, he achieved it. The lyrics themselves aren’t bad; it’s just the way he decided to make his voice sound like he was going to cry the entire time. For an album full of good songs, the presence of one bad song can be overlooked.

Lastly, the final two songs on the album , The Night Me and Your Mama Met” andStand Tall are the slower song on the album. Track 10, TNMaYMM, I would say is a musical interlude, since there are no lyrics. But, the song very much flows together and brings you that warm fuzzy feeling in the beginning, with a ukulele and vocal harmonization that sounds like the gates of heaven opening. The song carefully flows into an electric guitar solo that distorts at the end and fits perfectly into the song. This song is then followed by track 11, Stand Tall”, which brings a more acoustic vibe to the mostly funky/psychedelic album. In this song he talks about being a child in the city, and passes down advice from his father to his son, saying “keep all your dreams, keep standing tall,” which is a good way to close the album, especially with the little synth and guitar part he adds at the end to make sure the songs end on an upbeat note.

Awaken, My Love! is the biggest risk Childish Gambino has taken, and it turned out well for him. Although we have seen other artists take a sharp left turn with their music, Gambino’s was probably one of the best ones; 8.5/10.