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  • Writer's pictureTroy ANTIART

ALBUM REVIEW: Silk Sonic, An Evening With Silk Sonic

Grade: C+

This is the first collaboration project with pop star Bruno Mars and R&B star Anderson .Paak. When “Leave the Door Open,” came out in March of 2021, there was a lot of potential with the group. With its soulful vocals, smooth production and playful lyrics, I felt like this project could bring the 70’s feel to 2021. Even though the track sounds great with its catchy choruses, it felt more like 70’s cosplay because of how modernized it sounds as it tries to capture the essence of someone like Barry White. I’m not going to say that the track was all that bad, however it was missing something. Like if it was going to be a song about leaving the door open for your woman to come over, then I feel like it could have been more intimate. I’m not too sure who the audience would be for a track like this despite it being played on radio stations around the world.

Earth, Wind & Fire’s iconic song, “Shining Star” was sampled and used throughout the entire song on “Fly As Me.” Silk Sonic’s rendition sounds more like a nerfed version of its own predecessor. The song as a whole sounds like it was made for the ending credits of a movie that didn’t want to pay royalties to Earth, Wind & Fire. Anderson .Paak’s performance on the track kind of proves what I was saying about this track being 70’s cosplay because of the way that this song is structured. Anderson .Paak had an okay rap verse about wanting a fly woman, with some memorable lines such as “It’s showtime, tryna boo you up like it’s the Apollo,” but it does ruin the illusion that the Silk Sonics were from the 70’s. The part of the song that I really didn’t care for was when they start spelling “FLY.”

“After Last Night” with Thundercat & Bootsy Collins was a total upgrade from the beginning of the album so far. Thundercat’s presence on the production is a major improvement. It's more sensual tone alongside Bruno Mar taking lead on the vocals, this track sounds great. Production wise, this track feels more dynamic with its killer arrangement of instruments and its bass where Thundercat went off sounds so intimate. Bootsy Collins narrates on the track and compliments Silk Sonic’s vocals better than I thought it would. This track is a total success on this project. With “Smoking Out The Window” next on the track list, the momentum continues.

Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars really compliment each other well on this track about a woman who is a gold digger. The imagery and mood of the track is pretty funny. One of my favorite parts of the track is at the end over Anderson .Paak’s second verse where it transitions from “Not to be dramatic, but I wanna die,” and then Bruno Mars comes in hard with, “ This bitch!” Something about a woman making Silk Sonic smoke out of the window while they are “payin’ her rent payin’ for trips / Diamonds on her neck, diamonds on her wrists” really is funny to me. That transition really just came out of nowhere. I like the story the song as it progresses from how their relationship started so nicely to having to break up because of her infidelity. Even after Silk Sonic bent over backwards and watched her bad ass kids as they were smoking out the window.

“Put On A Smile” interrupts the momentum that the album was just starting to achieve as Silk Sonic goes into a soulful ballad about how they put on a smile while they deal with the pain of heartbreak. I feel like both of these artists have made better break up songs than this track. The lyrics on this track aren’t that compelling and the production kind of sounds corny, especially when the sounds of rainfall come in on the track. I understand that people definitely put up an act after a relationship to seem like they are doing okay, but the line, “I should be a movie star / The way I play the part like everything’s okay,” is clichéd. The guitar riff on “777” has a nice 70’s feel to it and Bruno Mars’ attack on the beginning of this track is great. But the rest of the track feels mediocre. The lyrics about gambling aren’t compelling at all, and the production is kind of boring.

“Skate” brought me back into this project with its dynamic production and some of the better performances from the duo. This song actually does seem like a 70’s skating rink song with it’s floating feel. Especially the chorus on the track. It’s a fun light hearted song about skating with your woman. The album ends with the slower and softer cut “Blast Off.” The vocals sound solid on this track even though the lyrics aren’t the best, but it sounds great. However the outer space theme didn’t really shine that well. The instrumental breaks are okay, but I feel like there could have been more to it.

Overall, the project was a nice collaboration with Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak. They both shined on these tracks for the most part. Their vocals complimented each other, but the beats could have been better. I was hoping this project would be more raw and emotional like these two’s previous projects, but the passion felt lacking. This project was super short as well with 9 songs and having a runtime of 31 minutes, and I wish these two could have done more songs for this project. I’m not the biggest fan of pretending to be a band from the past, but if they were going to do it, they should have looked back to the time period for more inspirations. They might as well have gone fully invested in this era since that was the aesthetic they were going for.

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