An Evening With Silk Sonic - Album Review
Posted on December 2, 2021
After over eight months since the release of the duo’s hit single, ‘Leave The Door Open’, pop icon Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak have come together for, ‘An Evening With Silk Sonic’, narrated by the legendary 70s Bootsy Collins.
If I’m being honest, I don’t know if I would have been excited for, or have even listened to this album if it were made by anyone else. When it comes to more straight up throwback projects as opposed to experimenting on a genre or period in music, I almost always choose to listen to the latter. My rationale most of the time is that if I want to hear 1970s music, what’s stopping me from going to listen to Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, or any other artists who were so obviously influenced on this project.
Not to mention that honestly, I have never been a huge fan of Bruno Mars’s personal catalogue. While he is without a doubt one of the most talented singers of this generation, I feel like there is not much character or individuality to his sound that sets his music apart from the rest. So what made me so excited about this album? The second half of the Silk Sonic duo; Anderson Paak. Paak’s music has always been so smooth, fun, and energetic, and he has had such a different come up than Bruno. What has stopped Paak from achieving the commercial success that he so deserves is his ability to make catchy hooks, and there aren’t many better people to go to for that than Bruno Mars.
Image Credit: Entertainment Weekly
When ‘Leave The Door Open’ was released, the only exception to my rule was made. From the lush string arrangement, luxurious keys, and complimentary vocal performances, I was drawn in immediately. It wasn’t anything that we hadn’t heard before, but yet it was still somehow refreshing. This was the perfect single for the project, and left so many of us wanting more.
This album finds its success in the way it covers a wide range of traditional 70s grooves, its clever writing, and infectious hooks. Whether it’s the funky and confident ‘Fly As Me’, which feels like a track that picked up right from where Bruno left off from his ‘24K Magic’ project, to the undeniably sexy ‘After Last Night’, they have the entire decade covered on this project.
Silk Sonic also does an incredible job of keeping the subject matter extremely light and even humorous at times, like on the final single from the project, ‘Smokin Out The Window’. Mars and Paak go back and forth on the verses and pre-chorus’ expressing their frustrations over the fact that no matter how much they offer to their significant other, she still will leave them “Smokin out the window”. With such a playful use of imagery and lyricism, it’s easy to see just how much fun these two must have had working on this project together.
Bruno Mars’s already phenomenal vocal ability is taken to a whole new level as well. With numerous key changes in the middle of so many of these songs, the track ‘Put On A Smile’ stands out as a moment where we see Mars take his voice to places where we haven’t heard him go to.
It is also worth mentioning just how well this project is mixed. No sound or instrument feels out of place, too invasive, or overbearing at any point in the entire album. For this reason, it is much easier to appreciate why this album took so long to come out.
Image Credit: BrunoMars.com
‘777’ and ‘Skate’ serve as some of the more uptempo cuts before the album closes, and I personally feel that by this point in the project, it feels like we’ve explored everything. While ‘Fly As Me’ had the charismatic wit and offbeat flow largely carried by Anderson Paak, these two tracks seem to be very similar, yet offer far less substance. In general I feel like they miss that factor that every other song has that draws the listener back to its unique characteristics, making them ultimately feel forgettable in comparison to the other highlights on this album.
When it comes down to it, this project is a colourful, smooth, and seemingly effortless take on an aesthetic that has been well-worn. While I may criticize the similarity within the instrumentation or structure of these tracks, there is an undeniable chemistry and childish tone to their sound that just feels like you’re missing out on all the fun if you don’t see the total self-awareness that they have.
With only nine tracks and a runtime of just over 30 minutes, there seems to be a lot left to be explored between these two. In an interview with Apple Music, Paak and Mars seem to express that they are both interested in continuing this journey together, and I’m sure everyone is on board for it.
Final Rating: 9/10