Everyone has relatively obscure songs that they remember from their childhood. When it comes to them, A) you expect no-one else in your generation knows or remembers them, and B) you’re fiercly protective of them and won’t accept sub-standard covers or remixes. The P.M. Dawn original is a masterpiece in my world (because my mother listened to it religiously, essentially burning it onto my brain), and hence seeing that Gambino covered it last week not only drew surprise, but also a heavy serving of caution.
Thankfully, it’s actually good. Not only can I appreciate his choice of something 20+ years old, and with personal value to me (the latter is clearly why he picked it), but his execution is strong. Of course, he’s not going to perfectly recreate the smooth, gentle emotion of the original in such a setting, but he gives it a very admirable effort.
The vocal work is really likeable, and given that most of his radio performances are rap-oriented, it’s good to hear him exclusively sing on this one, and do so in a manner that doesn’t seem too far at all from his studio work. There’s enough rawness here to keep it true to the original, whilst the variety in his performance demonstrates his ability with a few difficult notes, and will definitely win over some of the more mainstream heads. A worthy cover of a legendary original, and I’d be keen to see if he offers up a studio version at some point.