Album Review: An Evening with Silk Sonic

Review by: Aditya Thiyag

Artist: Silk Sonic

Rating: 5/5

Pop king Bruno Mars and musician Anderson .Paak linked up to produce an album of the year contender.

An Evening with Silk Sonic clocks in at a concise 31 minutes, but the amount of variety packed into this runtime is absurd. Segueing from love ballad to disco jam, none of the 9 tracks feel like filler, a welcome breath of fresh air in an era of 20 song, hour long albums.

Both Mars and .Paak wear their 70’s influence as a badge of honor throughout the project. Funk legend Bootsy Collins narrates the album, sprinkling in an extra bit of personality in a similar vein to DJ Drama in Tyler, the Creator’s “Call Me If You Get Lost”. Outside of Collins, the album only has one feature from soul artist Thundercat on the sensual “After Last Night”, who bolsters the nostalgic style crafted by the horns on the track with a catchy bassline. 

It’s impossible to understate how much pure charisma the duo exude. .Paak injects life into average lines like “Float like a butterfly on every single track,” on the song “Fly On Me” with confident, braggadocious delivery. His rap roots shine here, speedy flow meshing well with the more up-tempo production that can be found in .Paak’s solo work. Callbacks to Mars’ previous work additionally manifest themselves here naturally within the project. The emotional centerpiece of the album, “Put on a Smile’’, is reminiscent of Mars’ “Versace on the Floor”, and albeit lacking the 80’s synth that made the 2016 track so enticing, the pair more than make up for it with arguably Mars’ most powerful vocal performance to date, vulnerable verses from .Paak, and both of their vocals entwining during the chorus over twinkling and snare heavy production. 

While no glaring missteps are present throughout the record, Mars feels somewhat out of place during the faster paced songs. On “777”, the pop star’s contributions felt less significant compared to .Paak’s raps. Examining the opposing side, Mars tended to dominate slow jams like “Leave The Door Open ‘’ with his authoritative voice, reducing .Paak to ad libs during the chorus. However, these nitpicks don’t diminish the record’s quality in the slightest, and I commend them both for each trying something new.

It would’ve been extremely easy for Mars and .Paak to coast off of their critically acclaimed previous work, but the duo reinvented themselves with this album, a celebration of two consistently versatile artists and the entire R&B genre. 

Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak didn’t just step outside of their comfort zone this year. They waltzed out of it and left the door open, inviting listeners into a disco world that I don’t see myself leaving for a long time.