Ram Jams: Silk Sonic’s ‘An Evening With Silk Sonic’

This fun album from Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak will be in my Spotify rotation for quite a while




Genre(s): Funk Pop, Soul, R&B, Blues

On a Playlist With: Prince, Frank Ocean, Giveon

Shamelessly fun and jam-packed with soulful, captivating harmonies, the new Silk Sonic record does not disappoint. 

The debut project between the newly formed duo of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak — “An Evening With Silk Sonic” — delivers on the promise of bringing funk pop back to the mainstream following the release of the album’s two highlight singles: “Leave the Door Open” and “Skate.” 

After both tracks’ large success on the Billboard Hot 100, the anticipation for the album has been high, and eager fans should know that it was worth the wait. 

From start to finish, the record engulfs you in layers of dance-inducing instrumentals and lush vocal melodies that come together like a warm hug on your senses.

Mars and .Paak play off of each other’s strengths very well to form a dynamic duo with an unexpected amount of chemistry that shows on every track.

Mars and .Paak play off of each other’s strengths very well to form a dynamic duo with an unexpected amount of chemistry that shows on every track. 

Mars, an artist who is undoubtedly talented, has shown out in recent years with hits like “24k Magic” and “Finesse,”  but overall has had inconsistencies in full-length projects throughout his career. His last full-length solo work in 2016, the “24k Magic” album brought some timeless classics like “Versace on the Floor” and “That’s what I Like,” but otherwise was bloated with filler.

The duo’s second half, Anderson .Paak, on the other hand, has had an impressive solid three-project run with “Yes Lawd!,” “Oxnard,” and “Ventura.” His breakout work, “Yes Lawd!” is so good it acts as a playlist of its own, but of all three records, .Paak has yet to score numbers with any standout individual tracks that can stand alone from them.

Their partnership proves fruitful as .Paak’s drum work and playful verses, matched with Mars’s angelic vocals, allow both of them to shine off of each other, doing what both of them do best. My personal favorite, “After Last Night,” feels like something James Brown would make if he were alive today. .Paak proves that less is more with the drums, Mars sings a hook that I’ve sung in the shower for the last week, and the contributions of Thundercat and Bootsy Collins make for the most engaging and dramatic song of the album. 

“Fly As Me,” the album’s third track, is another one of the songs that stuck out to me. The horns paired with an irresistibly funky bassline have not failed to put a smile on my face after the first 10 seconds of listening. .Paak especially on this track says some lines that would be questionable if they came from anyone else that wasn’t him. The pure jazzy energy of this track and the way both artists hold themselves on this song makes you put that all aside as they indulge you in the groove.

“Blast Off,” the album’s one minor valley for me, is by no means a bad song. The track is just as expressive and funk-filled as the rest, but its sequencing drags it down as a part of the project. With tracks like “After Last Night” at their disposal, I can’t think of a reason that this track was chosen for the finale. I just believe that it wasn’t the most suitable to act as the final climax for everything that built to that point.

The duo managed to make something innovative enough that can stand alone from its inspirations.

Although running at just over 30 minutes long, this project does what it does well: bringing emotive, catchy songs that don’t try to act like they’re doing anything new but pay tribute to the blues legends of the past it’s influenced by. 

With this album, Silk Sonic has not made something overly original. But because the passion that each track exudes through their performances is so genuine, the duo managed to make something innovative enough that can stand alone from its inspirations.

The Bottom Line: The entire record sounds like the residue of cigar smoke in a jazz lounge at 3 a.m. Simply put, it’s blissfully smooth. It sounds as if Mars and .Paak had as much fun making it as I had listening to it, and I can tell you I’ll be having it in my Spotify rotation for quite a while. 

The Peaks: “Fly As Me,” “After Last Night,” “Skate” “Leave The Door Open,” “Smoking Out The Window”

The Valleys: “Blast Off”

The Verdict: 9/10

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