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The beauty of ‘An Evening with Silk Sonic’

| Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Makayla Hernandez | The Observer

It may have been originally overshadowed by the simultaneous release of “Red (Taylor’s Version)” Nov. 12, but “An Evening with Silk Sonic” has been doing quite well with critics and fans alike.

In case you aren’t aware, the duo Silk Sonic consists of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, two very well-known artists in the modern music industry. Their bond was formed during Bruno Mars’ 2017 “24K Magic World Tour,” where .Paak opened during the first European leg. This time allowed them to collaborate musically, but their work together was put on hold when the tour ended.

Had quarantine not happened, it is likely that audiences might have never heard the sweet sounds of Silk Sonic. The writers came together just before the pandemic forced everyone into their homes, but they continued to work throughout their isolation. Mars and .Paak announced the creation of Silk Sonic and an upcoming musical release in February, and the rest is history.

“An Evening with Silk Sonic” is a fusion of soul, funk, rap and R&B that The Ringer described as a “1960s to ’70s retro endeavor.” The album has a runtime of approximately 31 minutes, and it features special contributions from funk legend Bootsy Collins and bassist Thundercat. 

I enjoyed the album thoroughly. Songs like “Leave the Door Open” and “Smokin Out The Window” get stuck in my head frequently, and the tracks let you groove along to Mars and .Paak while they live out their ’70s dreams. “After Last Night” is smooth like caramel, “Put On A Smile” provides a melancholic but catchy melody and “Blast Off” is a truly psychedelic ending. 

Although I generally enjoyed the album, I found some areas are in need of improvement. First, the runtime is simply too short. This is more of a personal gripe than a technical one, but I believe that if I am going to be entertained during “An Evening with Silk Sonic,” then I shouldn’t want the evening to end. 

Second, I found this debut to be very formulaic. In some ways, the duo’s formula is fantastic — they have an introduction to the album that feels true to the era, the tracks have a nice flow and they finish the record by “blasting off” in the final song. However, the subject matter never seems to change, and it can become tiring. Also, .Paak takes a majority of the verses, and Mars takes a majority of the refrains. While this is not true of every song, it is predictable, and it doesn’t give each artist a chance to show off their vocal abilities throughout the entirety of the album by just sticking to certain sections.

Lastly, a review published in The Washington Post describes the album as “too sanitized,” and while I want to defend this album, I also have to agree. There seems to be something about the album that just touches on the surface of what true soul and funk can really become. I’d really like to see the duo get more in touch with the music that they were influenced by and create something really spectacular (not just nostalgic for a time never lived). It is understandable that they might want to cater to a certain audience, but I would be interested to see what they could do with more time.

If Silk Sonic releases another album in the future, I will be thrilled. I honestly think that they should continue to record together, for their duo works well, and they make good music. I hope that, should they collaborate again, they continue to work on developing their musical niche and find a place where their respective areas’ music can meld together into something even greater.

Artist: Silk Sonic

Album: “An Evening with Silk Sonic”

Label: Aftermath, Atlantic

Favorite tracks: “Put on a Smile,” “Leave the Door Open,” “After Last Night”

If you like: Bootsy Collins, James Brown, Durand Jones and the Indications

Shamrocks: 3.5 out of 5

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About Anna Falk

Anna is a sophomore studying neuroscience, French, and linguistics. You should follow her Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/annam.falk?si=88e09848b64547c3

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