By Emma Weidmann | Intern
In the months since Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak dropped the single “Leave The Door Open” last spring, they have introduced the world to “An Evening with Silk Sonic,” a full-length album that has been hotly anticipated. The group re-entered Billboard’s Hot 100 top 10 this week, showing just how in demand throwback music is and that this duo are the ones to deliver it.
They’re an ideal musical pairing — Mars’ smooth vocals compliment .Paak’s hip-hop rhythm. All nine tracks on “An Evening With Silk Sonic” deliver the group’s aesthetic in a perfectly cohesive, intensely nostalgic package.
.Paak describes “Leave The Door Open” as the “mission statement” of the album. Directly after the first track, “Silk Sonic Intro” sets the tone for the whole record.
Inspired heavily by 1970’s R&B and disco, “Silk Sonic” draws on the famous sound of Earth, Wind & Fire. Lyrically, it’s all about romance, dancing and being fly, shown perfectly in the song “Fly As Me.” Many of the sound effects and instrumentals on the tracks are evocative of the groovy music of the past, especially on the opening track “Silk Sonic Intro.”
This album feels like a natural progression from Bruno Mars’ Grammy-winning 2017 release, “24K Magic.” In particular, songs like “Perm” and “Chunky” feature similar musical inspiration and lyrical themes as those off “An Evening With Silk Sonic.” The two albums aren’t quite comparable, but it seems fitting that the artist who made “24K Magic” would continue on to create this one.
Like many albums, this record contains a range of romantic songs. There are those that have Mars and .Paak flaunting their good looks to attract a girl (“Fly As Me”), songs that praise the beauty of a woman (“After Last Night,” “Skate”) and a staple piece of any R&B album, the heartbreak song (“Put On A Smile”).
As much as the album relies on disco and R&B for its sound, it is also thoroughly modern and fresh; it’s not simply trying to replicate the feeling of the era. .Paak brings his own flair to the duo, contributing many spoken parts and often raspy vocals.
The album matches its sound to its visual aesthetic. Listeners are meant to imagine themselves wearing bell-bottom pants in a dim roller rink under the light of a disco ball. At a one-night-only performance in Los Angeles, “Silk Sonic” channeled just that in their stage design. The Peppermint Club was transformed into the “Silk Room,” complete with servers on roller skates and lots of gold decorations. Famous guests were treated to a performance of many of the album’s tunes, as well as a few from Mars’ own discography.
Every single song on this album belongs exactly where it is. Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak are the perfect creative duo. “Silk Sonic” has the kind of swagger and expensive taste that make the music itself sound like gold. The name says all you need to know; the music is lustrous and glamorous.