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"Awaken, My Love!" is the third studio album by American hip hop recording artist Childish Gambino. It was released on December 2, 2016, by Glassnote Records. The album's release was preceded by two lead singles, "Me and Your Mama" and "Redbone". Consisting of tracks sung rather than rapped, its fusion of psychedelic soul, funk and R&B influences was considered a bold departure from the predominately hip hop style of his prior work. The album was produced by Glover and his longtime collaborator, Ludwig Göransson.


On June 17, 2016, after a hiatus from social media, Glover tweeted "", which was 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 at Joshua Tree Hill, 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 Hill 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 twelve songs during the concert with minimal rapping, mainly featuring a funk/jazz vibe.

After the album was released, 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.


"Me and Your Mama" was released as the album's lead single on Beats1 radio and the iTunes Store on November 10, 2016, while "Redbone" was released a week later, premiering on Annie Mac's Hottest Record on BBC Radio 1.

Critical Reception

"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 79, based on 17 reviews. Mosi Reeves of Rolling Stone wrote that ""Awaken, My Love!" is an enthralling trip into the land of funk," while 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. It was easy to sleep on the nerd rap of Childish Gambino before." 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," with The Guardian 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."

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." 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." 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." A. Harmony of Exclaim! said, "Despite this galling blunder , Gambino knocks Awaken out of the park."

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." 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." 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"." Brian Josephs of Spin said, "That combination of bottled passion and efficiency spreads itself evenly through the 11-track set." Jonathan Wroble of Slant Magazine said, "A maddening ride with an authenticity problem, "Awaken, My Love!" finds Glover confusing his idols for muses." It is Glover's highest-charting album.
Track listing

All tracks were produced by Childish Gambino and Ludwig Göransson, unless otherwise noted.
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Me and Your Mama"

Donald Glover Ludwig Göransson Zac Rae

2. "Have Some Love"

Glover Chris Hartz Sam Sugarman

3. "Boogieman"

Glover Göransson

4. "Zombies"

Glover Göransson Hartz Ray Suen

5. "Riot"

Glover George Clinton Eddie Hazel Haskins Clarence Eugene

6. "Redbone"

Glover Göransson

7. "California"

Glover Göransson

8. "Terrified"

Glover Göransson

9. "Baby Boy"

Glover Göransson

10. "The Night Me and Your Mama Met"

Glover Göransson Gary Clark Jr.

11. "Stand Tall"

Glover Göransson

Total length:

Donald Glover – vocals (all tracks except 10), drums (track 6), glockenspiel (tracks 6, 8, 10), percussion (tracks 1–4, 7, 8), bottles (track 7)
Ludwig Göransson – bass guitar (tracks 1–3, 6, 7, 9–11), guitar (tracks 1, 3, 4, 6–8, 11), rhodes (tracks 3, 6, 11), wurlitzer (tracks 6, 7, 9) synths (tracks 1, 2, 6), mellotron (track 3), harpsichord and synth bass (track 4), cello banjo (track 6), organ, bottles and percussion (track 7), drum programming (tracks 3, 8), synth programming and background vocals (track 8)
Ray Suen – guitar (tracks 1, 4, 7, 8, 9), piano and synth fx (track 4)
Lynette Williams – organ (tracks 1, 2, 9), clavinet (track 9)
Zac Rae – synths (tracks 1, 5, 8), organ (tracks 1, 8)
Chris Hartz – drums (tracks 1, 2, 4, 7, 9), bass guitar and rhodes (track 4), percussion (track 7)
Per Gunnar Juliusson – piano and rhodes (track 1)
Sam Sugarman – guitar (track 2)
Gary Clark Jr. – guitar (track 10)
Thomas Drayton – bass guitar (tracks 1, 8)
Brent Jones and the Best Life Singers – choir (tracks 1, 2, 4, 10, 11)

Chart (2016) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA) 9
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders) 76
Canadian Albums (Billboard) 7
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts) 33
French Albums (SNEP) 140
Irish Albums (IRMA) 28
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ) 21
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista) 31
Scottish Albums (OCC) 49
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan) 54
UK Albums (OCC) 34
US Billboard 200 5

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