Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak

“Who gon get the ladies feeling right?”

It seems as though contemporary tycoons Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak are willing and able to get down to take that formal responsibility. On November 12, the funky and soulful duo  joined forces and hashed out a 30-minute record paying homage to the legendary era of 70s fly-ass R&B as Silk Sonic with “An Evening With Silk Sonic”.

In March 2021, the Grammy-award winners announced their collaborative album and released their lead single and took the nation and radio waves by storm with “Leave the Door Open”.

This track featured a stellar composition with an unforgettable arrangement of keys and horns that reminded us of the more mellow and love-making masterpieces that Marvin Gaye gave us. The final 90 seconds of the track featured Bruno Mars showing off his vocal range and showing us how well he can compliment this era of music – to no surprise, of course. His 2016 multi-platinum album “24K Magic” featured only nostalgic tracks fueled by the funk and grooves of the past.

The shimmering slow turning disco ball feel of “Leave the Door Open” propelled it to the top of the Billboard 100, where it stayed there for two weeks. It was an undeniable hit that showcased the two as a powerhouse duo, forcing us to ask for more.

The two brought us fire, desire, and a lot of horns in this album and even had a track that featured Bootsy Collins and Thundercat for this highly anticipated album.

But did it live up to its hype? It is definitely worth the listen. 

The intro of the record introduced the album’s feel in about a minute, and gave listeners a reason to get in the groove and allowed us to be formally introduced to the two artists, where the psychedelic funk icon Bootsy Collins slyly gave the stage to Mars and .Paak and prepared us to dance. 

Fly As Me” forced us to be guided by the funky guitar riffs and .Paak’s boastful flow. This track gave us the same feel as Earth, Wind & Fire’s hit “Shining Star” does, yet, there is such an unmistakably modern touch that gets you snapping your fingers and moving your hips. This duo effortlessly complemented one another as .Paak took the lead with his raspy voice and talent on the drums, and Mars disguised himself in the background with this signature simple vocal layering.

After Last Night” is the smoothly sensual sexy R&B track with Thundercat and Bootsy Collins that reminds you of cool silk caressing your skin, rose petals adorning the bed, and the soft glow of several candles set ablaze. These two took you to that spot before Silk Sonic sang in sweet harmony, “Wishin’ on a shootin’ star, say a prayer for me / And hope it comes true.” 

This outstanding track is reminiscent of the sensual side of Prince as he showcased on “Do Me, Baby”, which is further made apparent with Bruno’s “ooo’s” and “ay-ya-ya’s” that he closed the song with. 

Smokin Out The Window” is the angst-filled, heartbroken, ode that featured them yelling, “This bitch got me paying her rent, paying for trips, diamonds on her neck, diamonds on her wrists? And here I am all alone.”

This track flowed quite well and was also arranged as well as “Leave The Door Open” was. The perfect middle finger to the women that have broken their hearts and forced them to smoke out this window. This song is currently in the Top 40 of the Billboard 100.

The heartache does not end with this song, for the smoke is still in the air and won’t clear up, but Silk Sonic welcomes the floodgate of tears with “Put On A Smile”.

Funk pumped life back into the album as the rowdy track “777” began, to which Silk Sonic basked in their pretty boy style and their riches giving us an underwhelming track. “Skate” – the second single released from the album – this party anthem was filled with romance, nostalgia, and a melody that simply got you moving. “Blast Off” is the final track of the short record and it allowed for Bruno Mars to take the mic and flawlessly outsing Anderson .Paak as he belted, “Can we take it higher?”

Did this album live up to the hype? It definitely brought back some funky cold grooves that served as the cornerstone for modern music… in the 1970s. But in 2021, these two music tycoons did not push the genre forward, did not add a twist to the sound, and as mentioned before, frankly felt too much like other tracks of that era.

Nonetheless, they created a playful album that was enjoyable and perhaps deserving of a longer run time. These two definitely created a fantastic record, with a lot of reasons to play it more than once.

Some songs shimmered brighter than the others, and forced us to realize the cohesive factor that Silk Sonic disregarded, but that is okay. They created a warm atmosphere and teleported us back in time. They mastered the aesthetic and sound effortlessly well, and provided us with feel good emotive songs that cemented their artistic chemistry and utmost respect for the era of R&B that they could not move on from, especially Bruno Mars.

“An Evening With Silk Sonic” is now available on all streaming platforms.

Ivan Manriquez (he/him/his)

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