Silk Sonic - “An Evening With Silk Sonic” Album Review

Story posted November 16, 2021 in Arts & Entertainment by Caelan Chevrier.

Magic. That is what happens when pop legend Bruno Mars, and rapper/drummer, Anderson .Paak collaborate. Forming the R&B/Funk super-group, Silk Sonic, they have managed to captivate nearly the entire world with their seventies-inspired new record.

In 2017, Anderson .Paak and his band, The Free Nationals, accompanied Mars on his 24K Magic Tour in Europe. From there, they began to pass ideas back and forth, and they eventually released their debut single “Leave the Door Open” in March of 2021. They are also accompanied by the funkadelic legend, Bootsy Collins, who serves as a “special guest host” on the record.

With Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak striving to push each other creatively, "An Evening With Silk Sonic" may be one of the best albums of the year and the best album among their collective discographies.

Although Silk Sonic is influenced by musicians such as James Brown and George Clinton, this record is not just a nostalgic love letter to the past. There is a gorgeous blend of funk, hip-hop, R&B, soul, pop and rock.

Stylistically, both artists are unique wherein each song they both bring something different to the table. .Paak tackles a majority of the verses, rapping and singing with his lower and raspy vocals, while Bruno stands out the most on choruses, making the most out of his wide and melodic range. Neither artist outshines the other, and times where they sing together are some of the record's greatest highlights.

All of the album’s ballads are incredible, with “Put On A Smile,” standing out the most. Mars sings on the chorus, “Tryna put on a smile | Tryna fight these tears from cryin' | But Lord knows I'm dyin', dyin'” It also has one of the album's best instrumentals, with live orchestration and live brass instruments backing the duo as they deliver some of the most introspective and heartbreaking lyrics.

The song that precedes it, the third and final single, “Smokin Out The Window,” is the best song on the album. Even though the song is equally as heartbreaking, lyrically .Paak delivers some of his best lines, and Mars gives his best performance. .Paak hilariously raps, “Look here, baby, I hope you find whatever it is that you need | But I also hope that your triflin' ass is walkin' 'round barefoot in these streets,” and also, “Not to be dramatic, but I wanna die.”

“Smokin Out The Window,” is also accompanied by an enthralling music video with the stars of the show performing on the big stage holding up cigarettes. The videos for the singles have been similar in aesthetic and will want to make listeners sip wine in a fur mink coat.

"An Evening With Silk Sonic" features only one person, the talented bassist/singer Thundercat. He plays the bass on the fourth track, “After Last Night” in his signature tonality. He fits in perfectly, also delivering smooth background vocals.

The funkier tracks are enjoyable as well as the pair pick up the tempo on “Fly As Me” and “777,” proving that they are versatile.

The closer provides a nice sendoff to Silk Sonic, and it keeps the people wanting more. “Blast Off” is a very dreamy and surreal piece, leaving listeners feeling like they're floating out of this world. There is also an incredible guitar solo that is guaranteed to get boots shaking.

The only problem with the record is its length. The duo had teased four out of the nine tracks on the album before its release, leaving listeners with very little new content when it finally dropped. Just one evening with Silk Sonic was not enough, as a whole weekend would have been far more suitable.

It is unusual in recent times where an album with so much commercial appeal is so good. It would be almost unbelievable if the tracks did not climb the charts.

Will Silk Sonic ever return? It is hard to say. But for the half-hour that was spent with them, not a single second was wasted. Through their chemistry, and their sheer-raw talent, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak have created a classic album.


Rating: 9/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Songs: “Smokin Out The Window,” “After Last Night,” “Put on a Smile”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: N/A

 

Caelan Chevrier is a second-year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email cjc6789@psu.edu.

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Caelan Chevrier

Second Year / Journalism

Caelan Chevrier is a second-year student in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State University studying broadcast journalism and marketing with the goal of graduating with a bachelor’s degree in four years. His plan is to get involved in numerous media-related clubs during his stay. His career goal is to spread informative, meaningful and entertaining content across various platforms and to be a positive impact on the community. He has also spent time working at The Westport Local Press in his hometown of Westport, CT. If you’d like to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).