REVIEW: ‘An Evening With Silk Sonic’ proves to be a night to remember

Album artwork for 'An Evening With Silk Sonic.' (Photo courtesy of Silk Sonic/Aftermath Entertainment/Atlantic Records)

By Joe Pohoryles
Boston University News Service

While Taylor Swift’s “Red” re-release is capturing the most media attention, the debut album of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak’s newfound duo, Silk Sonic, should not be cast aside.

“An Evening With Silk Sonic” is only nine tracks long, with a full run time of just over 30 minutes, but the pair brings an R&B funk sound not heard in mainstream music these days.

The album starts with a one-minute intro track to set the tone. Bootsy Collins is introduced as the host of the “evening,” but the jazzy instrumentals make it worth listening to if you plan on enjoying the full album in one go.

The album truly kicks off with lead single “Leave The Door Open,” which topped the charts after its release in March. 

Still, I question its placement as the first full track. While it’s undoubtedly the most popular song — and perhaps Silk Sonic wanted to start on a familiar note — the seductive tones make me feel like the album is taking me to bed without buying me dinner first; calm down gentlemen, we’re just getting started.

The next track, “Fly As Me,” brings a lot more funk and soul; you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who can resist moving to the upbeat rhythm. Despite it being a duo, this track feels like a quintessential .Paak song, but Mars brings a little extra swagger to this self-esteem-boosting track.

If you thought the album couldn’t get steamier or funkier, you stood corrected when Mars and .Paak were rejoined by Collins, as well as an instrumental feature from Thundercat in “After Last Night.” 

The lyrics are so sultry to the point that it’s a little hard to take seriously (think SNL’s “D*** in a Box,” without the overt phallic references), but everything Thundercat touches turns to gold. The beat is too groovy to completely ignore.

“Smokin Out The Window” dials things back a bit in what was one of the other lead singles. It also takes a tonal shift away from the lovey-dovey and sheds light on the harsher realities and stress that comes from relationships. 

Mars and .Paak may be left smoking out the window, but the song will have you turning up your speakers in what’s arguably the best song on the album.

“Put On A Smile” is where the quintessential Bruno Mars comes in, compared to the .Paak-esque “Fly As Me.” 

The good vibes from the opening tracks are now completely flipped in a sad song lamenting the fact that their significant other is gone and they desperately need them back. Mars’ vocal talent is on full display as the instrumentals are less prevalent, but the raw confessional brings a nice change of pace.

The funk ramps back into high gear in the next track, “777,” which truly hits the jackpot of combining the best of Mars and .Paak. With an infectious, rock-infused beat and high-energy lyrics about living large in Las Vegas, this track transports listeners right into the casino with the duo.

The third lead single, “Skate,” serves as the penultimate track where the tone comes back full circle to the funky, upbeat vibes from earlier in the album, as the pair serenades seemingly every woman in the world all at once.

The night comes to an end with “Blast Off,” which slows things back down to a soft rock, R&B funk-infused psychedelic trip, leaving listeners on a mellow note.

All in all, “An Evening with Silk Sonic” is everything one would expect: the typical R&B soul jams from Anderson .Paak as well as Bruno Mars’ catchy lyrics that every national retail chain commercial will hammer into the ground come Black Friday. 

One would also expect a collaboration between two of the coolest performers in today’s music industry to produce the grooviest album of the year, and Silk Sonic delivers.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.