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Silk Sonic makes audience swoon in soulful ’70s tribute

Silk Sonic makes audience swoon in soulful ’70s tribute

Silk Sonic makes audience swoon in soulful ’70s tribute
November 18
12:00 2021

Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak met in 2017 while touring on Mars’s 24k Magic World Tour. Their friendship blossomed from that tour, and the pair’s mutual appreciation for ’70s era soul led to the formation of duo Silk Sonic. When the hit single “Leave the Door Open” dropped, the collective internet began salivating in anticipation for the full-length album, “An Evening with Silk Sonic.”

While Mars needs no introduction due to his status as one of the biggest pop stars of the 2010s, .Paak’s come-up has been more gradual, though it is undeniable that he has made himself into one of the biggest names in the soul and R&B landscape. While both of them have a distinctly modern sound that shares its differences and similarities, .Paak and Mars have both stated their appreciation for the older, more nostalgic genres of music such as soul, funk and blues. This shows on the record with the intro to the album featuring a spoken word piece from legendary artist Bootsy Collins.

This similarity in interest and inspiration led to an easy chemistry that shines throughout the album. For instance, .Paak takes over on the incredibly funky “Fly As Me,” rapping over a nasty bass line and pulling off rap flows that Mars does not have experience with. However, “Put On a Smile” sees Mars take it back to his ballad days over a blues instrumental and an incredibly sentimental rainstorm sample in the background. His incredibly powerful voice is irreplaceable and while they are not absent on each track, it is easy to see when they defer to the others’ strengths.

Collins’ contributes in spades throughout the album and his silky voice is a fantastic compliment throughout the project, especially on “After Last Night” featuring Thundercat. Despite the duo flirting with promiscuity throughout the album, the sensual soul cut sees them singing about leaving their player-days for who they believe is their true love.

“Smoking Out the Window” is a release of frustration for the pair, as the “true love” they previously had has turned sour. While some of Mars’s past releases featured him tragically singing about throwing himself on a grenade for a girl, this song sees him completely shed this persona as he dismisses his past lover as someone who needs to go back to the “city,” where they found her.

Mars and .Paak both utilize influences from past decades in their music, and they find themselves in a perfect situation to bring out the best in each other on this record. The album is not necessarily original – the duo admits that it takes heavy influence from artists like James Brown, Miles Davis and Aretha Franklin. Nevertheless, Silk Sonic utilizes crisp production and an immense amount of swagger and sensuality to create an experience that makes one understand exactly why boomers loved this decade of music so much. My only complaint with the record is the length – its run time of 31 minutes and 19 seconds is quite short, especially after already releasing nearly half of the album as singles.

Even with its short run time, “An Evening with Silk Sonic” uses its luxurious instrumentals, soulful vocals and infectious confidence to draw the audience into the sick, soulful groove that is enjoyable to nearly every ear. As music has continued to evolve through new ideas and concepts throughout the years, Silk Sonic’s ode to past legends has created what I believe thus far is the best project of 2021.

Caleb’s final rating: 4.5/5

Image source Bandwagon

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Caleb Yum

Caleb Yum

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