Monday, January 9, 2017

"Awaken, My Love!" - Childish Gambino

I was hoping to do this for the second review of the new year, and I pulled it off. This is the new album by Childish Gambino. He is a writer/comedian/rapper and I guess now singer known as Donald Glover. I loved Community while it was on TV and I did see some Derrick Comedy while it was on the Internet. But I do know over the summer I actually saw his stand up special the day I broke up with my ex. I feel really dumb bringing it up but it has to do with this. I thought the stand up special was good but I also didn't expect to even think this was good. It wasn't until after this dropped and I heard Redbone I was like.... Let's peep this out.
  1. Me and Your Mama: The track opens with a sort of feeling of uncertainty. I was unsure if I would like this as much as I liked Redbone when the song started. There is a sort of waiting for something to happen. Once it does happen its sort of worth the wait, but I still wonder if the wait was shorter would the pay off be the same I guess. There are chimes and kind of a music box playing before this beat comes in and vocals and it's building up the song until the lead vocals come in. The beginning has some interesting textures and cool sounds and I think it sounds pretty damn good. I mean I don't think this is the highlight of the song, but it's still solid. My only complaint is the song takes a whole 2 minutes to start. If this introduction was an intro track I could just skip it, but I love that guitar and the fucking fuzz on it. The choir makes this feel so big and gives it that punch I need it to have. Then that scream, it reminds me so much of the scream in the beginning of (Don't Worry) If There Is a Hell Below, Were All Gonna Go. Which also happens to be one of my favorite songs off all times, so positive points there. I fucking love the keyboards that play towards the ending, the rhodes and the moog and Hammond organ all sound so good. I'm fucking jealous that he got to get his hands on those, really, the lucky bastard.
  2. Have Some Love: This track's choir has a very overy Parliment/Sly & The Family Stone vibe. The group vocal thing is something George Clinton would do all over a later record from the group. I like the way he's kind of rap singing. That organ sound is also great. I don't really know what to call it but I like it. I also like the acoustic guitar that comes in the second chorus, gives it a nice twang. I appreciate how it sort of goes into a different section after the second chrous that could be like a solo but it's got a lot of weird sort of psychedelic sounds going one. There are what sounds like hits on triangles and electronics and then it has this sort of spacy vibe. After that it goes to a group vocal of before going back to the intro and ending the song off. This is a very well put together songs. And the message is great
  3. Boogieman: The intro has a sort of Jimi Hendrix feeling and the first vocal part remind me of Parliment again. The thing though is I can kind of picture Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey when I hear that intro. It's a bit of a stretch, but I can kind of almost say it as it was said in the original song. I don't know, maybe I just has Sly on the mind. I like the sort of weird vocals on this and I trippin' feeling of the song. The best part is the chorus, the rest of the song is just kind of okay. I like the rhythm guitar that comes in during that also, adds a nice texture. It's not as good as the last two, but I do still jive with it.
  4. Zombies: This opens with some effects before giving us the guitar and the funky track. There is a weird perverted sort of Isley Brothers vibe I'm getting from this track. I really dig the harpsichord and the backing vocals the most on the track. I also really like that second where he holds the note and they use auto tune. Nice little details like that, that also happen to work, are what makes an album so much better. I also appreciate that organ part that plays before the song changes and quiets down. That woman on this track, fuck she is something else. I'm really jiving with what she's doing. I mean it's kinda sexy, but it also adds to this song. I also love that now there is a piano and then it gets a Rhodes. This is a very well constructed song that takes a number of listens to even pick everything out.
  5. Riot: This track is based on Good to Your Earhole by Funkadelic, and it isn't that bad. To be honest I think that was a good basis to use for the track. This is a very fun track but the deatils I love are because of the direct sample. I love that clavinet though, but it is more of a rocker to shake things up from the last and the next track.
  6. Redbone: I'ma be honest, I love this track.
    I know this is an interpolation of I'd Rather Be With You by Bootsy, but I'm be honest.... he fucking out does Bootsy. It is such a good track and kind of transforms it into something different and the vocals work so fucking good. This is a much more memorable and fun and sexy song that the original. In my opinion at least. I would bone to this, I think. I am also aware of the similarities to the one Isaac Hayes song too, but this songs trumps both of them. This kind of takes the best of both worlds and makes them better. I love the details and the little chimes and just how this works so fucking well. I am actually kind of wordless to describe the song, I just love this song much. I like how there isn't a solo at the ending of the song to the outro. I think it might work better that way, though I guess there kind of is.... in the lower guitar that could almost pass as a bass. It could also be a keyboard. I don't know this thing is so layered, it's fucking great.
  7. California: This is honestly a great tune. Its weird and fun and kind of a great diddy to be had. I love weird little things like this, Masoko Tango, Wild Honey Pie, EXP, New York Telephone Conversation, Tomorrow Never Knows, The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet and I kind of guess the intro to Pena. There are tons more but just weird things that kind of don't exactly fit or seem odd you know. They add some personality you know, rather than being a one trick pony, and can kind of show a sense of humor a bit. And the more I hear this the more I hear how much time was actually spent on this. There are these bottles and these voice pops and it's got a lot more work put into the track then you might initially think. I was so glad when I heard he did stuff with his voice on this to make the percussion, I knew it when I heard it :). I also love that soul jazz organ, and the vocals that soul like woodwinds. And that guitar on the track too. The amount of effort spent on this alone should make people happy.
  8. Terrified: This is another solid tune that kind of reminds me of The Weeknd. Like his early stuff, but maybe a bit more clear and not so drowned in reverb or the effects. I like the space on this though, and when the track starts I go this is a solid ass song. I also like those chimes, and the la las. The guitar again has a great tone, and I like all these section changes thought the album. The vocals at the end though kind of make me think of Great Gig in the Sky. And it also make me think of the potential. Like I guess it could be copying, but imagine if the next song was a sort of extended version of that chill ending and it just gets bigger and the vocals fucking orgasm as they do on that track.
  9. Baby Boy: If you know me, it's hard to hate a clavinet. It sounds so fucking good, and the rhythm section works very well and I love Gambino's vocals here. The lead to the chorus has some nice textures added and then it goes into a soulful group vocal vibe in the chorus. The only complaint is during the verses it could almost be a copy and past of the last one. This is still a solid tune though. The keyboards solo in pretty solid, but I wish it was better. The organ coming in makes the solo much better but it still doesn't really fix it you know.
  10. The Night Me and Your Mama Met: Now I gotta be honest, outside of tracks and the first two records I'm not a Funkadelic fan. In fact they tighter and more together the songs got, the less I like them. But this kind of has a sort of Maggot Brain feeling that isn't so loose, but it's chill and funky and has a well enough wah/phased guitar and solo. I don't know if its better or worse that the solo isn't like a fucking mind blow. The reason being there's no way this guy can compete with Eddie Hazel so if he tried he might fall flat. But then again if he tried it might just be a "rip off". But I guess since he didn't go nuts it keeps the chill vibe rather than the emotional breakout vibe. I still dig this, don't get me wrong, just a nugget that popped in my head while listening. I love the choir in this and it adds a nice tough. I can very easily see myself making love, or see in a movie people making love, to this song. 
  11. Stand Tall: This is honestly a very strong way to end the album. I love the track and think its a touching message. It makes me hope I can pull something like this, something touching, off if I ever have a son.I really like the Rhodes and the guitar in the beginning and he does a solid job of singing. I also love the sort of use of Strawberry Letter 23 for the refrain and I love how it seems very sincere. It's not like Picasso Baby, if memory serves correctly on the title. I also think this is a solid ending to the album, because it ends on a soft note where the album opens with a fucking bang. The woodwinds, and clarinet/flute sound great and I like the autotune he uses. I'm not sure how I feel about the synth patch that plays over the backing vocals, I like it but I'm not sure it's necessary. Though it does transition into the next section of the song, but it's comes up kind of abrupt. I do think that last section of the song where he's just singing and it feels like a party, I feel like could use a clean lead guitar soloing and going crazy you know. But the ending of the song is fine the way it is.
Overall I have to give this a 8/10. The more time I spend with this the more i appreciate it and like it. While it can never be a 9 or a 10, it was originally a high 7. This is one of the contemporary albums in pop music where I would totally want to jam along with, or play a session on. Given I need to be better, but you know what I mean. I recently listened to that Bruno Mars album, and I was like.... "it's okay and kind of fun. But I have heard things that sound like this and can get more out of those albums than this". While this emulates those older styles of music quite a bit, I think it's more in line with RAM than it is with say just a rehash. Like the more I revisit these songs the more I find that I like and find this is a pretty damn good record. Probably one of my favorites of the year, if I'm being completely honest. Needless to say I'll eventually pick up a Cd and maybe vinyl of this album.

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