“Awaken, My Love!”
Donald Glover is a polymath in an unsuspecting fashion. Despite concurrently concurring the small screen (previously in Community, now in the excellent Atlanta) and releasing his most interesting musical work under the puzzling and, let’s be honest, slightly crap nom de guerre Childish Gambino, Glover seems like an unusually modest contemporary slashie. There are no outbursts and precious few TMZ appearances, like he’s understatedly positioning himself to one day be the most famous man in the world.
“Awaken, My Love!” takes on board a whole surprising heap of influences like Funkadelic, middle era Marvin Gaye (think Here, My Dear). It’s not that modern R’n’B’s lineage doesn’t draw straight from this well, it’s just that the overt influence of 1970s only really gets worn in such obvious fashion when D’Angelo turns up with an album once in a decade – and you always get the feeling with him that he’s a total one-off. The other reasons it’s somewhat jarring, is that Glover was rapping before this, rather than reclining into some louche clavinet and velvet world with a heartfelt falsetto. But these surprises are not complaints. While “Awaken, My Love!” is no seminal work, it does point to an artist that we are only going to be paying more and more attention to.
Like this? Try these:
D’Angelo – Black Messiah
Funkadelic – Maggot Brain
Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life