Upon first listen of “Me and Your Mama,” I knew Donald, aka Mr. Glover, bka Childish Gambino, was taking us on a funk-filled, psychedelic trip to the soul. Any P-Funk fan can spot the inspiration for the cover from Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain”, where a woman with a ‘fro has her head sticking out the ground, in contrast to “Awaken’s,” which shows a woman wearing an African-inspired head garb, with head sticking out.
It doesn’t stop visually. Sound-wise, Childish has taken a more stripped down approach from previous work while remaining experimental. Throughout “Awaken!” you’ll hear the use of vintage keys, drums, guitars, and soulful background melodies, reminiscent of the 60’s and 70’s, without sounding rehashed or like he tried to copy George Clinton’s funky style from this era. Everything’s fresh. Instead, more of an homage is paid, and allows Gambino to touch on themes of spreading love (Have Some Love), losing love (Baby Boy), and going out for your dreams (Stand Tall). My favorites off the album are “Redbone“, “Terrified“, and “Zombies“. One could interpret “Redbone” to mean the piece of light he’s trying to get out of life; “Daylight… I wake up feeling like you won’t play right,” but that’s just my interpretation. Great music allows the listener to come to their own conclusions and revelations, which “Awaken, My Love!” does in entirety.
I say “Awaken!” is a perfect album. I love what CGDG (Childish Gambino-Donald Glover, new official title) did with this piece of work. On top of me already being a HUGE Parliament-Funkadelic fan, CG was able to take a sound and style I love, but make it modern and his own. I played “Redbone” like ten times the first day this came out, let alone the album on repeat. I never play songs back-to-back when they’re new. Don’t want ’em to get played out. And since that hasn’t happened, that should tell you how good of an album this is. “Awaken, My Love!” Listen now, via Spotify.