I Listened to the Silk Sonic LP So You Don’t Have To

I used to consider Bruno Mars a one-hit wonder for “Locked Out of Heaven”. When his Silk Sonic collaboration with Anderson .Paak dropped “Leave the Door Open”, I promoted him to a two-hit wonder. But this time, I actually liked the song. Now, with a baseline established by the singles, I’m listening to An Evening with Silk Sonic so you don’t have to.

It’s 7:46. I have a cold and am mildly congested. I also have a bowl of cheesy popcorn. Let’s get this thing start.

“Silk Sonic Intro” begins with plenty of vocal harmonies and brass. It has a big band feel and plenty of vintage energy. None of this is unexpected. I think this might have been released as a single at some point, but with its short runtime, I probably didn’t spend much time with it then. I’m not spending much time with it now either, since I’m giving my thoughts in real time.

Next is “Leave the Door Open”. We already know it slaps hard enough to cook a chicken. There’s some OG Willy Wonka soundtrack energy at playing, and the piano progressions are smooth. Mars and .Paak trade off vocal responsibilities seamlessly, and they have undeniably complementary timbres that make this project work.

At this point, I contemplate refilling my bowl of cheesy popcorn. It’ll have to wait, though. The bass-heavy, funk-driven “Fly As Me” has already started. Vocals oscillate between rap and confident singing. I can’t tell if the chorus is empowering or belittling – “I deserve to be with someone as fly as me”. Obviously, it comes across a bit tongue-in-cheek by even using the term ‘fly’. It’s an interesting change from what I’ve heard from Silk Sonic so far, so I’m definitely curious what’ll come next.

Well, “After Last Night” is one of the more sensual tracks, based off the whispery female into, a liberal use of upper-register vocals, and intermittent quips from Bootsy Collins. Every nerve in my body tenses in succession as my guilt complex is on full alert.

“Smokin’ Out the Window” is another track I’ve heard already, but I’ll never forget mentions of UFC and Chuck E. Cheese juxtaposed against the complete devastation of the love interest being promiscuous. Also, “Not to be dramatic, but I wanna die” is an incredible line. It’s incredible how anthemic and bright the song is when you contemplate just how sad the implication of the lyrics is. But either way, it passes my strict 100-point test to be a certified banger.

Now we’re on “Put On a Smile”, which I can only assume will be a bit of a bummer. My expectations are met – it’s slower, soft, and a bit more barren. Some people might hate this comparison, but I honestly think of The Eagles – there’s a bit more rock influence on this one, and the somber moments definitely have some classic influence. Granted, there are other parts of the track that stay in the typical Silk Sonic genres, too. But yeah, I’m going to guess this is the ballad of the bunch.

“777” starts with distorted guitar that makes me think of RHCP. The lyrical flow only adds to this comparison. This is maybe the most conventional song of the bunch so far, sticking with traditional rock influence. There are a few horns mixed in that immediately remind me of CAKE. The lyrics are largely a flex of being rich, and I’m not too impressed here. But hey, if I was looking for astounding lyrics, I’d be listening to two-hour concept albums. Insert self-burn meme here.

I’ve heard “Skate” before. It reminds me of that one roller rink where I grew up that somehow I never knew the location of until after I could drive. I think they played “Sk8r Boi” there at a school trip. Wild that it’s how that track is actually spelled. Anyway, “Skate” is nothing new to this formula but keeps the same energy as “Keep the Door Open”, and while it’s not on the same level, it’s not bad. It’s probably one of the more accessible tracks and with clean lyrics, it’s definitely going to get picked up by DJs-for-hire. So far, the singles have been pretty evenly-distributed through the record which is a move I wish more bands did.

“Blast Off” closes things out. It’s another more tender, sensual track. There seems to be some nod to motifs from “Leave the Door Open”, and there’s a vocal line of “A ha ha” which reminds me of The Wiggles’ “Fruit Salad”. I guess you could say this is the most psychedelic track, if that was an appropriate tag. There’s even a bit more guitar activity at play. This is the longest track on the LP, so there’s some time for it to build and develop as it fades off at the end. It’s kind of a dull end, but once again there’s an announcer dub inserted which at least gives some sense of cohesion due to its recurring use.

It’s now 8:26, which isn’t bad at all. This is a pretty short album, barely surpassing 31 minutes long. The longest track is under five minutes. Mars and .Paak toy with all kinds of influences, from hip-hop to disco to funk-rock, and the aggression of tracks like “777” will surprise people who have only heard “Leave the Door Open.” However, the variety of sounds is actually welcome. It’d be easy to stay in one lane the entire time, but it’d definitely be a more tiring listen. The music certainly has more substance than the lyrics for the most part, and it’s hard to tell what’s meant as humorous and what is actually a delusion of grandeur. But hey, you aren’t here for deep thoughts. You want some songs to cry to and hits to dance to. And this album has both.

You can follow Bruno Mars on Facebook (like 30 of my friends) or Instagram (like 3 of my followers). You can similarly find Anderson .Paak on Facebook and Instagram. An Evening With Silk Sonic is available everywhere and, unlike me, you do not need to actually listen to it in the evening.

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