​Childish Gambino returns with new single, album release announcement

“Me and Your Mama” is Gambino at peak musical powers


Childish Gambino announced plans to release a new album next month.

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

America in 2016 has been, to put it simply, dominated by cultural conflict. Forget for a second the toxic politics, the crippling amount of celebrity deaths and a growingly polarized society. When it comes to the artwork which responds to, re-packages and commodifies American cultures, few can make a greater case for owning 2016 than Donald Glover, who makes music under the alias Childish Gambino.

In addition to being the star, writer and executive producer of the acclaimed FX series “Atlanta,” this year, Gambino also reinvigorated his rap career, which has been on hold since his 2014 EP “Kauai.” This past Thursday, Gambino coupled the announcement of a forthcoming album entitled “Awaken, My Love!” with new single “Me and Your Mama.”

“Me and Your Mama” is dizzying at the outset. The line “I’m in love when we are smoking that la-la-la-la-la” repeats as if to lull the listener to sleep, but is suddenly discarded for an enthusiastic vocal performance by Gambino backed by noisy guitars and drums. The song’s lyrics are minimalist, but the repetition greatly enhances the dramatic effect.

Lines like “Can’t stand it, backhanded! / They wanna see us fallin’ apart!” and “This is the end of us! / Sleeping with the moon and the stars” point to a far more destructive relationship than Gambino initially lets on. Nevertheless, to Gambino, “this isn’t just puppy love.” Despite the opening line about love, Gambino’s constant self-reflection and pointed interrogation makes the song more paranoid than romantic.

The sound is unlike anything Gambino has tried before, potentially indicating Gambino will be taking far more risks on his forthcoming album. As the first single from “Awaken, My Love!” and tracklisted as the album opener, this cut is hopefully a sign of things to come.

As an undeniably beautiful fusion of blues and rock, “Me and Your Mama” raises fascinating questions about the direction of Gambino’s sound and style with his next album due Dec. 2. Gambino is no stranger to this sort of impassioned vocal work, but the song is nevertheless a tremendously ambitious departure from his usual output. Even more so, it is the best musical output of Gambino’s career, definitive proof he is still evolving and has much to offer.

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