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Album Review: 'An Evening With Silk Sonic' is a perfect strut back in time

The time has come for you to find your most luxurious pair of leather shoes and pour your finest bottle of red wine as you prepare to experience An Evening With Silk Sonic. 

The first full-length LP from R&B super duo Silk Sonic has finally arrived after much anticipation and from the first few seconds, one can tell it was worth the wait. 

Upon releasing their classic-soul tinged debut single, “Leave the Door Open,” to chart-topping status and vast critical acclaim, the band made it known that they weren’t just any pop collaboration looking to make a buck off of their combined recognitions; they were bound to completely turn the musical mainstream on its head.

The project’s debut album is nothing like you’ve heard in recent years. A love letter to old-school soul and funk, the group’s sound is unabashedly stamped by their influences, namely Seventies soul icons Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, to name a few. 

One half of the duo, Bruno Mars, has enjoyed enormous solo success prior to this collaboration, and on numerous tracks, he is not afraid to show why. On tracks like “Put On A Smile” and “Blast Off,“ the multi-instrumentalist puts on some of the most impressive vocal performances of the year. In one single “you” on the former track, Mars creates one of the most memorable moments on the album, holding the lyric out in his signature sleek falsetto. 

On top of that, his partner-in-crime Anderson .Paak’s velvety virtuosity behind a drum set and raspy vocals demonstrate how underrated .Paak is in music discourse. Already mind-boggling are his drum grooves on “Fly as Me” and “777”, but on top of that, the Californian’s ability to use his gravelly tenor to deliver the punchline to one of the group’s signature tongue-in-cheek lyrics is uniquely magnificent. 

Alongside the crisp production and seamless musical chemistry that, throughout the album, captivates you like the fillets and luxuriant mansions their music discusses, this album's lyrics are hilariously braggadocious and suave. 

For instance, lyrics like “I can smell your sweet perfume / Mmm you smell better than a barbeque” from the track “Skate,” showcase a band not afraid to show their playfulness while also maintaining the silky-smooth image that gives the band their retro aesthetic. 

While Mars’ vocal acrobatics are astonishing and .Paak’s grooves unmatched throughout the entire project, what holds this album up to some of the greatest of all time is the incredible songwriting by the duo and producer D Mile. 

Bedazzled by elegant key changes and chords that would floor any jazz snob, the musicality on An Evening With Silk Sonic that would drop even Mozart’s jaw. On both the funkier jams and vibrant, tear-inducing ballads, not one note, not even one sound feels miscalculated or misplaced. 

In the end, Mars and .Paak have brought back soul into modern pop music, and with that, they have blessed listeners with an innovative and fun project that has made one of the strongest cases for album of the year so far. Needless to say, we can’t see what they have in store for the future. 

With that being said, here are some of the standout tracks from An Evening With Silk Sonic:

Leave The Door Open

There could not have been a better way to kick off this album than with the lead single, “Leave The Door Open.” This sultry track is essentially a thesis statement for what the rest of the project has in store. It perfectly blends the two’s unique styles to take the listener back to a sunny 70’s day lined with flair pants and sensuality. 

Fly As Me

Directly after experiencing “Leave The Door Open,“ the listener is given four beats to collect themselves before they start jiving to the gilded, gritty groove of “Fly As Me.” The thick bassline over .Paak’s flittering hi-hat is the perfect medium for .Paak to exuberantly boast about his search for a partner who can match his swagger. 

Put On A Smile

Mars’ shining moment on the project is the luscious R&B ballad that explains how the speaker is fighting to stay positive after a heartbreak. When Mars takes the reins for the chorus, his whistling soprano stuns the listener upon first listen and reminds them of the unmatchable vocal power of the Hawaiian singer. 

Blast Off

The closing track sees the pair tell of their experiences with psychedelic drugs, and it’s voluptuous layering feels like one itself. The song ends with an impressive guitar solo by Mars that leads into a series of key changes that flow into each other like a key through a keyhole. By the time Bootsy Collins ushers you through the close of the album, you’re going to need that glass of wine to wrap your mind around the album you just took in.

Rating: 5/5

th392721@ohio.edu

@_tannerharris_ 

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