REVIEW: Childish Gambino’s “Awaken My Love”

The California rapper (aka Donald Glover) makes a huge leap with his latest record.

Childish Gambino, Awaken My Love (Glassnote)

awaken_my_loveSome artists evolve a sound over time, but every so often an artist makes a major leap between records that comes off like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly rather than just growing up. Donald Glover’s latest release under his musical moniker is his biggest sounding and most ambitious record to date, mixing classic funk and soul with more modern and experimental sounds and — the most ambitious change — he sings rather than rapping. There’s a powerful range of moods, from sombre to enlightened euphoria, unique instrumentation (a train whistle plays lead in “California”) and some great vintage guest vocals. Besides a deficit of Glover’s voice, the record is a surprising gem that will demand repeat listens. 8/10 Trial Track: “Redbone”