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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Stay Tuned – Childish Gambino’s Funk Odyssey

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The first time I heard “Boogie Shoes” by KC and the Sunshine Band, I was so confused and oh, so, intrigued. I wasn’t use to that genre.

For the first eight years of my life, I had been bringing my dad’s music to the playground, which makes for an interesting recess, especially when a third grader starts quoting Green Day. But I had never experienced a song like “Boogie Shoes” in my life. It forced me onto my feet. The word ‘groove’ wormed its way into my vocabulary.

I began a quest for contemporary music that could make me feel the way that KC and the Sunshine Band did. Years of tireless searching and listening had come up with few results… until the final months of 2016. Comedian Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, released his third album, “Awaken, My Love!”. Glover established himself as a rap artist back in 2013 with “Because the Internet”, which earned him a Grammy nomination. However, Glover trades in his rhymes for some pipes and some serious funk on “Awaken My Love!”.

By infusing psychedelic soul with moody R&B, Childish Gambino gives us the most underrated record of 2016 along with a 70’s nostalgia that I had been desperately pining for. The album is boldly different and an experience to say the least. Tracks like “Have Some Love” are reminiscent of artists like War and Funkadelic with its lowrider bass. Meanwhile, Glover’s high falsetto in “Redbone” pays homage to the late Prince.

However, the reason Glover succeeds is because “Awaken My Love!” does not remain stuck in the past. There is a sense of danger that permeates tracks like “Me and Your Mama” with haunting gospel choruses and hard guitar riffs. “Awaken My Love!” strays from traditionalist soul and, instead, revolutionizes the genre.

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Caitlyn Vandevelde
Caitlyn Vandevelde
Caitlyn Vandevelde is a senior at Neuqua Valley High School.
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