"Awaken, My Love!"

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"Awaken, My Love!"
Childish Gambino - Awaken, My Love!.png
Studio album by Childish Gambino
Released December 2, 2016
Recorded 2015–2016
Studio
Genre
Length 48:57
Label Glassnote
Producer
Childish Gambino chronology
STN MTN / Kauai
(2014)
"Awaken, My Love!"
(2016)
Summer Pack
(2018)
Singles from "Awaken, My Love!"
  1. "Me and Your Mama"
    Released: November 10, 2016
  2. "Redbone"
    Released: November 17, 2016
  3. "Terrified"
    Released: September 19, 2017

"Awaken, My Love!" is the third studio album by American rapper Donald Glover, under his stage name Childish Gambino. It was released by Glassnote Records on December 2, 2016.[7][8] Consisting of tracks being sung rather than rapped, its fusion of psychedelic soul, funk and R&B influences was considered a bold departure from the predominantly hip hop style of his prior work.[3][6] The album was produced by Glover and his longtime collaborator, Ludwig Göransson.

"Awaken, My Love!" received generally positive reviews from critics and debuted at number five on the US Billboard 200. It also debuted at number two on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album was supported by three singles, "Me and Your Mama", "Redbone" and "Terrified". The album received Grammy Award nominations for Album of the Year and Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards. The single "Redbone" also earned nominations for Record of the Year, Best R&B Song, and won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Performance.[9]

Background[edit]

On June 17, 2016, after a hiatus from social media, Glover tweeted "pharos.earth", a link to download his new app. The app itself placed the user in outer space looking at a small blue planet while a clock counted down to zero. The app then had the user crash down into space, placing them on a map that was located on Joshua Tree, California. The app then showed the dates of his upcoming performances in Joshua Tree, where the user could also purchase tickets. The concert festival was to debut the album and give the audience the "full-album experience". From September 3 to 5, nearly three months before the release of his album, Glover held three concert performances at Joshua Tree to debut the album. Glover wore glow-in-the-dark paint on his braids and a pink and yellow skirt, with his bandmates wearing similar attire. He performed eleven songs during the concert with minimal rapping, mainly featuring a funk / jazz vibe.[10][11]

Upon its release, Glover updated his Pharos app so users could watch the performance of his first lead single, "Me and Your Mama" at Joshua Tree through a virtual reality lens on the phone.[12]

Cover artwork[edit]

The cover of "Awaken, My Love!" features a photo by New York-based creative director Ibra Ake, in which model Giannina Oteto wears a beaded headdress designed by Laura Wass of WXYZ Jewelry.[13][14] Prior to the album's release, the cover artwork was included as an easter egg in an episode of Glover's FX series Atlanta.[15]

Singles[edit]

"Me and Your Mama" was released as the album's lead single on Beats 1 radio and the iTunes Store on November 10, 2016,[16][17] while "Redbone" was released a week later, premiering on Annie Mac's Hottest Record on BBC Radio 1.[18][19] On September 19, 2017, "Terrified" was sent to urban contemporary radio as the album's third single.[20]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?7.4/10[21]
Metacritic77/100[22]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
The A.V. ClubA−[3]
The Guardian4/5 stars[23]
The Irish Times4/5 stars[24]
Mojo3/5 stars[25]
The Observer4/5 stars[26]
Pitchfork7.2/10[27]
Q3/5 stars[28]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[29]
XXL4/5[30]

"Awaken, My Love!" received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album has received an average score of 77, based on 25 reviews.[22] Mosi Reeves of Rolling Stone wrote that ""Awaken, My Love!" is an enthralling trip into the land of funk,"[29] while Dan Bogosian from The A.V. Club wrote "Is Childish Gambino suddenly the new Prince, a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist always ready to keep the world an arm’s length away from knowing what he's thinking? Is he D'Angelo, a soul god fighting against his first image with all-time great music? No. He is Donald Glover, a man who can perform and write comedy, act in drama, and drop a truly wonderful album on short notice with all the influences and instructions spelled out."[3] Perry Kostidakis of the FSView & Florida Flambeau wrote that "with each successive album, Childish Gambino has exhibited phenomenal growth, but no more than on his latest release. Unflinchingly ambitious and boldly different, "Awaken, My Love" calls back the sounds and themes of the 1970s funkadelic movement to provide a wholly original, emotional and immersive musical experience,"[31] with The Guardian's Gwilym Mumford adding "only the limitations of his voice occasionally let him down – he doesn't quite have the range to nail Awaken's more ostentatious vocal lines. Still, it's a minor gripe when there's so much here to enjoy."[23]

El Hunt of DIY said, "Colourful, brilliantly messy, and a fully committed hodge-podge of psych and spacecake croons, "Awaken, My Love!" is unlikely to shed further light on exactly what Childish Gambino is at heart, but by now, Glover's erratic approach is surely part of his central appeal."[32] Jon Pareles of The New York Times said, "It's at once a homage and a parody, equally aware of that era's excesses and its glories, of the way that the most memorable 1970s R&B merged sensuality, activism, humor, toughness, outlandishness, futurism, soul roots, wild eccentricity and utopian community spirit. That's an extremely high bar, but at its best, "Awaken, My Love!" recalls many of those virtues."[33] Adam Kivel of Consequence of Sound said, "Some of the same issues that dogged Childish Gambino's previous attempts at this sort of powerful expression linger here, but Glover's anguished wail strikes a far more resonant chord than his impish punchlines."[34] A. Harmony of Exclaim! said, "Despite this galling blunder ["California", an infuriating interruption to an otherwise cohesive project], Gambino knocks Awaken out of the park."[2] Tim Sendra of AllMusic said, ""Awaken, My Love!" is a stone-cold blast from beginning to end."[1]

Matthew Strauss of Pitchfork said, "There are times, however, when that nodding feels more like mimicry than anything else. Maybe he'll figure out how to smuggle Donald Glover's heart into Childish Gambino's brain eventually, but if he hasn't figured out what he wants out of Childish Gambino yet, it's increasingly rewarding watching him try."[27] Scott Glaysher of XXL said, "Childish Gambino gets definite props for pushing the envelope and refusing to operate within any genre confinements on this refreshing 49-minute trip through the funkadelic 1970s. While these blurred lines make this album a little hard to follow, "Awaken, My Love!" proves his versatility as a rapper turning over a new leaf."[30] Kitty Empire of The Observer said, "Throughout, Glover's genre fluency is unimpeachable; the only minor drawback is the overmannered air of some of these period pieces, where there could be more straight-up abandon, as on the persuasive "Me and Your Mama"."[26] Brian Josephs of Spin said, "That combination of bottled passion and efficiency spreads itself evenly through the 11-track set."[4] Jonathan Wroble of Slant Magazine said, "A maddening ride with an authenticity problem, "Awaken, My Love!" finds Glover confusing his idols for muses."[35]

Accolades[edit]

Publication Accolade Rank Ref.
Clash Clash Albums of the Year 2016
22
Exclaim! Exclaim!'s Top 10 Soul and R&B Albums Best of 2017
7
Pigeons & Planes Best Albums of 2016
43
Variance 50 Best Albums of 2016
15

Commercial performance[edit]

"Awaken, My Love!" debuted at number five on the US Billboard 200 with 101,000 album-equivalent units, marking the third highest debut of the week.[40] It was the fourth best-selling album of the week, selling 72,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan.[41] The album was also streamed 41.5 million times in the first week.[42] It is Glover's highest-charting album.[40] As of December 28, 2016, the album has sold 151,000 total album equivalents, with 100,000 in physical album sales.[43] On June 29, 2017, the album was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for accumulating 500,000 in album-equivalent units.[44]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Donald Glover, except "Zombies" by Glover and Ludwig Göransson; all music composed and produced by Glover and Göransson, except where noted.[45][46]

"Awaken, My Love!"[47]
No.TitleMusicProducer(s)Length
1."Me and Your Mama"
 6:19
2."Have Some Love"
  • Glover
  • Chris Hartz
  • Sam Sugarman
  • Glover
  • Göransson[a]
3:44
3."Boogieman"  3:36
4."Zombies"
 4:41
5."Riot"
  • Glover
  • Göransson[a]
2:05
6."Redbone"
 5:26
7."California"  2:45
8."Terrified"  4:15
9."Baby Boy"  6:22
10."The Night Me and Your Mama Met"
  • Glover
  • Göransson
  • Clark Jr.
3:34
11."Stand Tall"  6:10
Total length:48:57

Notes

Sample credits

  • "Riot" contains a sample of "Good to Your Earhole" by Funkadelic.

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the album's liner notes and Tidal.[45][46]

Musicians

  • Black Party – drum programming (track 1)
  • Brent Jones and the Best Life Singers – choir (tracks 1, 2, 4, 10, 11)
  • Julie Burkert – flute (track 11)
  • Gary Clark Jr. – guitar (track 10)
  • Thomas Drayton – bass guitar (tracks 1, 8)
  • Donald Glover – vocals (tracks 1–9, 11), percussion (tracks 1–4, 7, 8), drums (track 6), glockenspiel (tracks 6, 8, 10), bottles (track 7)
  • Ludwig Göransson – bass (tracks 1–3, 6, 7, 9–11), guitar (tracks 1, 3, 4, 6–8, 11), synths (tracks 1, 2, 6), rhodes (tracks 3, 6, 11), wurlitzer (tracks 6, 7, 9), drum programming (tracks 3, 8), mellotron (track 3), synth bass (track 4), harpsichord (track 4), cello banjo (track 6), B3 organ (track 7), bottles (track 7) percussion (track 7), synth programming (track 8), background vocals (track 8)
  • Chris Hartz – drums (tracks 1, 2, 4, 7, 9), bass guitar (track 4), rhodes (track 4), percussion (track 7)
  • Dan Higgins – clarinet (track 11)
  • Sofia Hoops – background vocals (track 5)
  • Per Gunnar Juliusson – rhodes (tracks 1, 8), piano (track 1)
  • Kari Faux – additional vocals (track 4)
  • Steve Kujala – flute (track 11)
  • JD McCrary – boy soloist (track 8)
  • Phil O'Connor – clarinet (track 11)
  • Zac Rae – moog synthesizer (tracks 1, 5, 8), B3 organ (tracks 1, 8)
  • Ray Suen – guitar (tracks 1, 4, 7, 8, 9), synth FX (track 4), piano (track 4)
  • Sam Sugarman – guitar (track 2)
  • Lynette Williams – B3 organ (tracks 1, 2, 9), clavinet (track 9)

Production

  • John Armstrong – organ, keyboard, synths and v-drums recording (track 1)
  • Bryan Carrigan – choir recording
  • Andrew Dawson – mixing (track 8)
  • Gary Clark Jr. – production (track 10)
  • Chris Fogel – woodwind recording (track 11)
  • Donald Glover – production
  • Ludwig Göransson – production (tracks 1, 3, 4, 6–9, 11), additional production (tracks 2, 5), mixing (tracks 3, 11), additional mixing (tracks 4, 6, 7)
  • Bernie Grundman – mastering
  • Riley Mackin – mixing (tracks 1–7, 9–11), recording
  • Thomas Parish – woodwind arrangement (track 11)
  • Ruben Rivera – recording
  • Peter Rotter – woodwind contracting (track 11)

Design

  • Ibra Ake – photography, art direction
  • Soukena Roussi – co-creative direction and styling
  • WXYZ – jewelry design
  • Sheri Pinto – makeup
  • Brad Ogbanna – lighting

Managerial

  • Donald Glover – executive production
  • Ludwig Göransson – executive production
  • Fam Udeorji – A&R
  • Wolf and Rothstein – management

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[65] Gold 40,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[66] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[44] Gold 500,000double-dagger

^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  66. ^ "British album certifications – Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved May 25, 2018.  Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Enter Awaken, My Love in the search field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]