After months of hype, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak have released An Evening With Silk Sonic, the pair’s highly anticipated debut album as Silk Sonic, via Aftermath Entertainment/Atlantic Records. “Hosted” by funk legend Bootsy Collins, who named the band and serves as the album’s narrator, An Evening With Silk Sonic is a compact but nuanced musical character study, a seance with the lustful soul of the ’70s brought to life by two of today’s most magnetic performers.
Mars and .Paak have steadily generated buzz for the album since it was first announced back in February. Based solely on “Leave The Door Open” and the faux-conceited charisma of the band’s famous co-frontmen, Silk Sonic managed to ride a viral Twitter campaign (#LetSilkSonicThrive) to a performance slot at the 2021 Grammy Awards. After squeezing every drop of juice out of their debut single and video for nearly five months, “Skate” arrived in late July, followed by “Smokin’ Out The Window” in early November. With each single, Silk Sonic dove deeper into the album’s theme: the “Setlist of Doom,” a recorded realization of an immaculately constructed live show from an alternate past powered by Mars and .Paak’s studio one-upsmanship and guided by the cool hand of the “blaster of the Universe, Bootzilla himself.”
The nine-track set is packed with (even more) surefire hits—from “Fly As Me”, a blast of funky-drummer bravado (“I deserve to be with somebody as fly as me”), to the Thundercat– and Collins-assisted “After Last Night”, a prime piece of baby-making music set in the afterglow of night of carnal connection (“Normally I don’t stutter, but you d-d-d-d-do it to me,” Bootsy coos).
A concept album at its core, the charmingly self-aware An Evening With Silk Sonic presents a loose narrative about the ups and downs of infatuation. That trajectory is perhaps most apparent when “After Last Night” (“After last night, I think I’m in love with you”) quickly goes awry, leaving our lovable-dirtbag-soul-brother protagonists “Smokin’ Out The Window” in disbelief (“How could she do this to me?”).
Another slow jam, “Put On A Smile”, plumbs the depths of loneliness after the breakup (“I can pretend like I ain’t in my feelings but that ain’t true”). Bruno Mars has always been a master of the poetically heartbreaking love song, and this one makes good on his prerequisites while maintaining the Silk Sonic mystique (“I’m smilin’ like a fool, when the only thing worth smilin’ for… was you”). Just when things are getting a bit too forlorn, “777” sends An Evening With Silk Sonic back to the dancefloor. With .Paak’s drumming prowess and Mars’s frontman swagger on full display, the party track immediately evokes its influences (is that you, James Brown?) while managing to sound wholly current.
After “Skate”, the celebratory “set closer,” the album’s proverbial encore arrives in the form of “Blast Off”, an intricate, shimmering disco jam that swirls to a thematic conclusion as Mars belts, “Can we take it higher?” Considering the immense hype behind the project and a debut album that somehow meets and exceeds those lofty expectation, the answer to that question seems to be a resounding “yes.” Keep thriving, Silk Sonic.
Listen to An Evening With Silk Sonic, the debut album from Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak’s Silk Sonic, on the platform of your choice here or stream it via Spotify below.
Silk Sonic – An Evening With Silk Sonic – Full Album
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