What The Life Of Pablo was trying for with gospel, “Awaken, My Love!” has succeeded at with funk and soul. It is not an antique car with a new paint job, but the redesigned Challenger, a work of modern design that’s damn proud of its heritage, and it offers a beautiful ride.
Almost every song on Awaken is a soulful, vintage delight — with the exception of "California," an infuriating interruption to an otherwise cohesive project.
A powerful, socially aware album, but one with, slack funk basslines, licks, squeals, and knods to the greats.
Glover should be lauded as an envoy of music’s past, here to deliver the gospel of the funk and soul greats to the kids, instead of more millennial hip-hop malarkey.
Without question, Awaken, My Love! serves as a greenhouse for vibes as the album transitions from one tenured music hybrid to the next, often without so much as a crescendoed buildup.
Colourful, brilliantly messy, and a fully committed hodge-podge of psych and spacecake croons, ‘Awaken, My Love!’ is unlikely to shed further light on exactly what Childish Gambino is at heart, but by now, Glover’s erratic approach is surely part of his central appeal.
Childish Gambino gets definite props for pushing the envelope and refusing to operate within any genre confinements on this refreshing 49-minute trip through the funkadelic 1970s. While these blurred lines make this album a little hard to follow, “Awaken, My Love!” proves his versatility as a rapper turning over a new leaf.
Glover has a keen ear for genre idiosyncrasies and Awaken, My Love is full of tiny rewarding details: the pinched surf guitar of California; the squalling organ blasts of the Parliament-Funkadelic-ish Riot.
“Awaken, My Love!” carries the same visceral strength of Atlanta, the same anxiety, fear, passion, love, and beauty in massive doses.
“Awaken, My Love!” is his hardest left turn yet, ditching rap wholesale in favor of funk worship, and the result is his most enjoyable project to date. In paying homage to heroes, he even hits upon some of the genuine emotional connection that has often been missing from his music.
On the whole, Awaken, My Love! is a pronounced departure from Glover’s Childish Gambino persona—and a welcome one at that.
Only time will tell if Childish Gambino has remade himself into the post-millennial D'Angelo. But for now, "Awaken, My Love!" is an enthralling trip into the land of funk.
Simply put, for all of its creative pomposity, "Awaken, My Love!" isn't any better than Because the Internet, a solidly impressive record that brought Glover as close to bona fide in the rap community as possible.
A maddening ride with an authenticity problem, Awaken, My Love! finds Glover confusing his idols for muses.
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