This is just a friendly public service announcement to remind you that Childish Gambino, also known as actor, writer, director and future Lando Calrissian, Donald Glover, is releasing his new album this Friday December 2. It’s called Awaken, My Love! which sounds more like a Sufjan Stevens song than the follow-up to previous albums Camp (2011) and Because the Internet (2013). Regardless, we’re pretty confident that it’s going to be quite special.
With the album just days away, we wanted to provide a little cheat sheet recounting everything we know about it so far.
- It’s clearly going to be a step away from the hip-hop sounds many may have expected. From what we’ve heard so far, this is not such a bad thing. Our first inclination of this shift came after Gambino debuted the new album live at an event titled PHAROS earlier this year, a kind of musical festival thing that took place across three days in Joshua Tree, California. The reactions from punters were overwhelmingly positive about the new sound – although not without a few unsatisfied customers.
- The album will contain eleven tracks (full tracklist below), two of which have been released so far. Me And Your Mama is straight up one of the top ten, if not five songs of 2016 so far. It’s wild, it channels Alabama Shakes, it’s huge, it’s fucking glorious, with blues and gospel influences at every turn. Second single Redbone similarly steps away from hip-hop, focusing more on groovy synths, psychedelia and a high pitched vocal tone, further pushing that ’70s sound.
- The songs aren’t all totally new – in early 2015, Gambino performed Me And Your Mama at Bonnaroo Festival. Watch it here.
- The cover art for the album came out along with the official announcement, although it had secretly been put on display during a recent episode of his excellent FX TV show Atlanta.
“…Awaken, My Love!” pic.twitter.com/pyDUuSPb5f
— childish gambino (@donaldglover) November 10, 2016
- This is the back cover:
- The official announcement came just weeks before the release. It was immediately preceded by the title showing up on a sign in a record store and online ahead of time – whether this was a mistake or a guerrilla marketing tactic is unknown.
- Only one interview about the album has been published so far.
- In it, he reveals that he works on his music and TV career at the exact same time, in a house, which he prefers to using an office.
- He also says that the shift in musical direction has been greatly influenced by Funkadelic and Sly & the Family Stone. “I remember hearing a Funkadelic scream and being like, ‘Wow, that’s sexual and it’s scary.’ Not having a name for that, though; just having a feeling. That’s what made it great.”
- Australian fans will be the first to hear the new music live. Not including PHAROS, Gambino’s appearances at Falls Festival and Field Day are his next live performances. Lucky punters will be able to ring in the new year while feeling smug about being among the very first people on the planet to hear what will inevitably be an incredible album, live.
- It will be going live on all streaming platforms – no exclusives, mercifully.
- An invite-only “Return to PHAROS” event will take place next Tuesday in California. The event will see Gambino celebrate the album along with a Microsoft collaboration that seems to indicate a virtual reality component of the release.
Three days to go, folks.
Awaken, My Love! Tracklist:
- Me And Your Mama
- Have Some Love
- Baby Boy
- The Night Me And Your Mama Met
- Stand Tall