Spend An Evening with Silk Sonic

A review of An Evening With Silk Sonic, a new album featuring both Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak.

Spend An Evening with Silk Sonic

In the very last line of “Silk Sonic Intro, funk legend Bootsy Collins sets the tone for the rest of the album by announcing “a band that (he) named Silk Sonic.” And Silk Sonic is indeed one of the most apt names he could have chosen. With their incredible vocal chemistry, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak have created an album that one can only describe as silky smooth. The nostalgia that accompanies their homage to 70’s and 80’s R&B, along with the spectacular vocals, writing, and production, has solidified An Evening With Silk Sonic as one of the best albums of this year.

Throughout the nine tracks on the album, Mars’ vocals paired with .Paak’s tone, contagious presence, and drum riffs create what I would definitely call a ‘no skip album.’

An unexpected but incredibly talented duo, Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars met in 2017 when the former opened Mars’ 24K Magic tour. In fact, they started “Leave the Door Open” from their 2021 album way back then, and it snowballed into the masterpiece we have today. But not only do .Paak and Mars have an adorable friendship, they also have insane musical chemistry.

Throughout the nine tracks on the album, Mars’ vocals paired with .Paak’s tone, contagious presence, and drum riffs create what I would definitely call a “no skip album.” The two differing musical styles (for Mars, it’s a focus on guitar and piano, and for .Paak, a focus on drums), come together to form a melodic album “rooted in drum beats.” From .Paak’s drums on “Leave the Door Opento the pair harmonizing through key changes on “After Last Night,” there is no doubt that they are masters of their crafts. 

Putting aside the phenomenal vocals and instrumentality, there has to be a moment to let the songwriting and production of An Evening with Silk Sonic shine through. The entire album is a ballad to a love interest, as many tend to be. What makes this one unique, though, is the variety of tone and attitude throughout. .Paak and Mars exhibit more of that chemistry when emphasizing their humor—even just taking the third track, “Fly with Me,” listeners are pulled in by the comedic feel of lines such as “You deserve to be seen with somebody as fly as me.”

Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars, the duo that makes up Silk Sonic

They also manage to keep most of their songs (like “Smokin Out The Window” and “777”) lighthearted and playful, giving listeners a chance to dance along and be in an upbeat mood. But instead of keeping this humorous tone throughout the whole album, Silk Sonic packs more of a punch with their most emotional song, “Put on a Smile”. Written about trying to keep yourself together after a breakup, the production and raw vocals add just enough emotion to showcase .Paak and Mars’ versatile range. 

All told, An Evening with Silk Sonic was well worth the eight month gap fans had to suffer through between the release of lead single “Leave the Door Open” and the complete album. The narration by Bootsy Collins adds the feeling of a live show to it—each of his lines helps transition from one song to the next and makes it feel like a connected narrative. That paired with the insane talent of the two artists creates an album that immediately pulls you in, and there is something nuanced and new to notice every listen. An Evening With Silk Sonic always, without fail, manages to make me Put On A Smile.”