by Perri Williams ‘23
Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak shocked fans with the announcement of their album An Evening with Silk Sonic in late February. The unexpected pop and R&B duo released its first song on the album March 3, and “Leave the Door Open” starts with an amazing instrumental intro that leads into the smooth, soul-filled vocal performance by Mars and .Paak. The song gave fans a wonderful taste of what was to come on the full album.
Soul music is a genre created by African Americans that derives from 50s/60s music like the blues and gospel. An Evening with Silk Sonic, dropped on November 12, is filled with smooth 70s soul that is reminiscent of groups like the O’Jays, Jackson 5, and the Temptations. The blend of Mars’ amazing vocals and .Paak’s scratchy voice creates a subtle but intricate sound that embodies modern day soul/R&B. An Evening with Silk Sonic also pays tribute to funk music by including features from artist and funk icon Bootsy Collins (a prominent musician/singer known for his funky vocals and skills on the bass) while also including a feature from bassist Thundercat in the song “After Last Night.” Prior to the album the duo released two more singles, “Skate” and “Smoking Out the Window, ” and these songs added to excitement and anticipation for the album while also proving that the album was more than just the smooth and ironically silky sound of “Leave The Door Open.”
An Evening with Silk Sonic is a modern-day retro masterpiece that pays its respects to the Soul Train era while adding a slightly modern touch. Every song makes you want to move, whether it’s fast paced like “Fly as Me” or a bit slower like “Put On A Smile ” with Bruno Mars’ impeccable vocals. The band cannot go unmentioned, as without the band the album is nothing. The instrumentals, which include a multitude of sounds, blend perfectly with the vocals of .Paak and Mars. Although the album is R&B/Soul, .Paak is able to sneak some of his smooth flow into “Fly as Me” as he raps short verses between the parts where he and Mars sing. The album is short but sweet with only nine songs, leaving fans wanting more but happy with what they received.
Silk Sonic made a special appearance last year at the 63rd Grammys where the duo performed their most recent release “Leave the Door Open.” .Paak and Mars are not new to winning Grammys (Paak has won 4 while Mars has won 11) but this was the first time they collaborated and performed together. This year their album An Evening with Silk Sonic is nominated for two Grammys, Record of the Year and R&B Performance of the Year.