By AMBER AINSWORTH, Editor-in-Chief
Describing Childish Gambino’s new album as an evolution of sound would be an understatement.
Gambino didn’t just expand on past work for “Awaken, My Love!” Instead, he emerged with 11 funky experimental tracks that nearly lack any ties to his past albums.
It’s as if he is a different person from song to song, his voice changing nearly as much as the style of music itself.
The groovy tracks are smooth and mellow, just the right amount of vocals and instrumentals; Gambino’s voice is basically an instrument, as he contributes his voice both to saying words as well as songs that combine seamlessly with the lyrics.
The album begins in a magical sense with “Me and Your Mama,” while cutting out almost instantly when “Stand Tall” comes to a finish.
“Me and Your Mama,” the first song Gambino revealed to the public, captures what the next 10 tracks will hold. A slow but melodic intro leads to vocals unlike any heard on tracks prior to it, though not nearly as unique as his voice that will come in later songs.
Perhaps the most interesting track in terms of how he sounds is “California.” If heard without knowledge it was a Gambino song, it would be hard to tie him to the voice.
“Redbone,” a single released last month, makes even a line like “my peanut butter chocolate cake with Kool-Aid” sound sophisticated, the words blended into a mix of beats.
Simple chords and Gambino’s melodious voice make for a track that ties the album together naturally in “Stand Tall.”
Gambino’s shift in sound is definitely interesting after his rap, music that proved he was a genius lyrically. “Awaken, My Love!” represents an even deeper level of talent beyond that of previous releases.
The lyrics of the new album still exemplify his talents as a songwriter, though the layered sounds of both his words and the instruments in the tracks tie together a level of artistry that makes “Awaken, My Love!” a masterpiece.
Gambino doesn’t stay put, bouncing from artist to writer to actor, so his change musically shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. The biggest shock though may be just how unique the sound is.
Popping back into the music scene with an album so different from what he was known for could have been a dangerous move, but a versatile and beyond talented Gambino was able to produce an album that proves just how brilliant he is.
He kept fans waiting with little knowledge of what he was up to while he was creating music that would not only express the type of artist he is, but completely redefine who Childish Gambino is.
While “Awaken, My Love!” is different and may not sit well with people who like Gambino solely for his rapping, it’s a daring leap into new territory that deserves to be appreciated.