Childish Gambino – “Awaken, My Love!” Review

childish gambino Awaken, My Love!

The pleasant surprise of the season.
Glassnote, 2016
Purchase: Amazon

7.2 / 10

I’m not sure if Donald Glover, the mind behind the Childish Gambino project, is getting better at his craft or if he’s won me over through his ubiquity. Camp, though still quite bad, doesn’t register as the commandingly awful cash grab I accused it of being several years ago, and while I turned in a negative review of Because the Internet for another website that I’d link to if it were still online, I’ve found myself coming back to instrumental tracks from it. Even that album’s supplementary script and short film come across now as two bad Atlanta spec scripts.

So: fine, I like “Awaken, My Love!”. It is obvious pastiche of soul and psychedelic rock, but it is loving pastiche, invoking and evoking the optimism of a past age while putting in enough well-constructed material that I can say there are some standout tracks on here (most obviously “Me and Your Mama”). Repeated listens expose its novelty and pacing issues (I’d be more glowing if this were ten minutes shorter), but maybe Glover has figured out this music gig.