R&B duo Silk Sonic released their first album, “An Evening with Silk Sonic,” on Friday, Nov. 12. Silk Sonic is made up of the multitalented Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, who formed the group after Paak opened for Mars on his 24K Magic World Tour in 2017.
Though both artists were born in the 80s, the album is heavily reminiscent of smooth funk in the 1970s. “An Evening with Silk Sonic” feels comfortable for what listeners are used to from Mars as he frequently plays with a more “retro” sound. It’s a bit of a departure for rapper Paak, but it certainly doesn’t sound like it. The two blend flawlessly both vocally and on their respective instruments and sound as though they are having an excellent time doing it. Though “An Evening with Silk Sonic” doesn’t provide any terribly unexpected musical turns, every track has an undeniably infectuous groove. The listener can’t help but bop along.
Silk Sonic hit the scene in Mar. 2021 when they released “Leave The Door Open,” which debuted at number four on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts. The song peaked at number one, becoming Paak’s first chart-topping hit. “Leave The Door Open” received high praise for its vocals, as well as its soulful composition.
Evidently, Mars and Paak were very concerned with authenticity, even looking into old drum magazines to ensure they were using the right drumheads. The past few years have seen quite a bit of emphasis on nostalgia and the revival of older trends, likely due in part to the pandemic and an effort to grasp onto the “good old days.”
“Leave the Door Open,” was followed by “Skate,” released in Jul. 2021 and “Smoking Out the Window,” released in Nov. 2021. The songs solidified that Mars and Paak are able to provide an effortless groove and have excellent musical chemistry. The full album, “An Evening with Silk Sonic,” was released shortly after “Smoking Out The Window,” and almost immediately received high praise.
“To describe the album in one word: Sunshine. Only these two could make an album that provokes such emotion and passion. Every song is perfectly crafted and is such an effective blast to the past,” Seth Turner, a sophomore biology student and musician said of the listening experience.
The album feels very collaborative and like those who came together to create it share the same depth of passion for the craft. The album features funk icon Bootsy Collins and R&B bassist Thundercat on the track, ‘After Last Night,’ providing another layer of credibility to the music. Collins also lends his speaking voice to the album, serving as a sort of narrator or “spiritual host” to the experience.
The tracks are incredibly polished and have a sense of luxury to them. “It’s so smooth, fresh and funky. It’s like being in a futuristic disco,” Gemma Laverty, a first-year art student commented. The sound is golden. The work that Mars and Paak have done to remain true to their source material, yet also provide an updated and personal take on the genre pays off.
“An Evening with Silk Sonic,” offers nine tracks and stands at 31 minutes, and hopefully this is not the extent of the duo’s work together. The album is available to stream on all music platforms.