The first song I heard off of Childish Gambino’s (Donald Glover's) new album, “Awaken, My Love,” was “California” – a catchy, upbeat, almost reggae sound, with a few heavily autotuned spots and a train whistle beat. Not sure how to feel about this ~interesting~ song, I decided to check out the rest of the album. I was immediately intrigued by the first song, “Me and Your Mama.” I wasn’t sure why at first, but it sounded familiar and, after a few runs through, I realized the pickup about two minutes in sounds so much like the transition in “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” by The Beatles.
The album in general seems extremely reminiscent of the “Abbey Road”-era Beatles. His voice and any digital alterations aside, the music itself is really just from another time – the 70’s to be specific. The choir singing throughout the next song, “Have Some Love,” is straight out of the non-conformist movement in both sound and lyric. “Boogieman,” the next song on the track, follows the same kind of theme with a song that is more like a story with its call-and-response pre-chorus. The reverberating guitar in “Zombies” is so strongly suggestive of the work of The Beatles and Pink Floyd, while “Terrified,” shows off a more vocal side.
This music is definitely something different and so unlike the pop-hits that seem to be recycling exact parts of classic songs. With the synthesizers, unique sounds, and traditional instruments mixed in with rapping, choirs, a little bit of crooning, and It’s funky, groovy even. It’s definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is just so interesting. If you’re looking for something new, like the sounds of the 70’s, or want to see a different side to Mr. Glover’s artistic persona, check out “Awaken, My Love.”