Album Review: An Evening With Silk Sonic

Martha Lilli Probert raves about Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak's latest collaboration

Martha Lilli Probert
3rd December 2021
Way back in February of this year, during the (thankfully final) lockdown, Bruno Mars made an announcement that lit up the hearts of music fans worldwide. He was teaming up with Anderson .Paak to form a new band, aptly named ‘Silk Sonic’. .Paak was a critical darling, who had opened for Mars on his 2017 world tour; Mars had not released an album since 24K Magic in 2016, and anticipation for new music was high.

On March 5th, 2021, ‘Leave The Door Open’, along with ‘Silk Sonic Intro’, was released, reaching the top spot on BillBoard’s Hot 100. Over the coming months, two more singles appeared, confirming an albeit very long build-up to the eventual release of a full album, which – to my immense excitement and, frankly, relief – was released on November 12th.

The album in question is a masterpiece in the modernising of classic soul and funk. Bootsy Collins is a more than appropriate feature; his influence runs through many of the album’s basslines, giving it an at once nostalgic and fresh feel. Indeed, the opening four bars of ‘777’ could be pulled straight from a Parliament album. The P-Funk inhabits ‘Fly As Me’, too, a track punctuated with an energising, percussive bassline and underscored with an undeniably Seventies’ soundscape. The album’s lyrics are suitably suave, and often possess a knowing sense of humour and self-awareness, which not only adds a sense of levity to the album as a whole but constitute a heartfelt acknowledgement from Mars and .Paak to their musical forefathers.

For me, the album truly comes into its own with its middle triptych – ‘After Last Night’, ‘Smokin Out the Window’, and ‘Put on a Smile’. The lush production, evident throughout the album, comes into full effect here. Rich harmonies, deft percussion from .Paak and some of Mars’ best ever vocal work come together to produce three tracks that could each contend, in my eyes, for the best song released this year.

Amidst the winter blues, this album brings soulful warmth. If anything can get us through the coming exams and essays, it’s Silk Sonic!


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