How often will you listen to a rapper who graduated in Dramatic Writing? How many times will you listen to a soul track composed by a tv writer? Once in a lifetime? Ok, that’s the one time. Daniel Glover is mostly known for starring in American comedy series Community, and for creating the dramatic series Atlanta, two very successful screenplays. His stage name as a rapper is Childish Gambino, but after two messy LPs and just as many EPs, Glover completed a career u-turn: “Awaken, My Love!”, distributed by Glassnote in cd format, is an organic, neo-soul album.
The overabundance of ideas and styles that deprived Gambino’s previous records from being completely enjoyable, in Awaken, My Love! is disappeared: consistency is offered by a spacy, funky, very rich production, that glorifies the bass without stealing the accent from the melodies.
The single Me and Your Mama opens the album melding a two minutes long gospel choir with an enthusiastic funky refrain, immediately warning us not to take anything for granted with Glover’s latest work. The trio of songs composed by Boogieman, Zombies and Riot rest on a freakish vocal performance, while the arrangement reminds of a revamped What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye.
The best and worst moments on the record are consecutive: in Redbone Glover’s falsetto matches perfectly well the down tempo beat, meanwhile California results in an annoying clip, that ends up only fragmenting the flow of the record. The last four tracks help to diversify the offer of the record, always highlighting the vocal range of Gambino with great bass lines together alongside an extremely detailed production, underlining the real strength of the album.
Lyrically, Awaken, My Love! doesn’t excel, actually it is pretty empty and stereotyped, but it’s hard to expect lyrical greatness from Glover knowing his older songs. Despite this flaw, the album doesn’t lack in personality, Childish Gambino’s footprint is all over the places. The times when Sly & The Family Stone wrote a soul-funk song about racial problems like “Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitney”, is far behind us, and politicised music is rarer than ever: Daniel Glover may not be a terrific songwriter or lyricist, but his great personality and musical awareness, restricted to this project, are working well.
Ultimately, he found a solid musical output, way better than his predecessors.
Full listen on Spotify below: