Album Review: An Evening with Silk Sonic by Silk Sonic
Excellent, Based on 5 Critics
Sputnikmusic - 90 Based on rating 4.5/5
If bein' fine was a crime...
It's been a strange phenomenon to witness Bruno Mars' ascension from the guy who wrote very basic, catchy tunes like 'The Lazy Song' and 'Grenade' (from 2010's pop-reggae afterthought Doo-Wops & Hooligans) to where we are now. There's a number of things that happened along the way obviously; for one, he got better. 2012's Unorthodox Jukebox saw him take a step in the right direction - including perhaps his best non-charter in 'Moonshine' - but the album as a whole was still an uneven and single-reliant experience with the added misfortune of possessing some of the worst pop lyrics of all time (who could forget 'Gorilla'? ugh).
It started off as an inside joke. But even though Silk Sonic's cheeky lyrics and comedic delivery play like an SNL sketch, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak don't mess around on An Evening with Silk Sonic. For those who have yet to return to in-person concerts, An Evening provides a formidable alternative: it's big, it's immersive, and, thanks to solid musicianship and impeccable cohesion, it evokes the feeling of a live set.
People desperately wanted Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak -- collectively known as Silk Sonic -- to breeze in with the best album of the year. And they could have -- but didn’t. Their knowledge of bygone eras and ability to effectively pay homage to classic funk and R&B should’ve been a slam dunk. But instead, An Evening With Silk Sonic has already morphed into nothing more than a novelty, one that thankfully doesn’t overstay its welcome.
After fiddling with the R&B of the 1980s and '90s to great commercial success on 2016's 24K Magic, Bruno Mars has assigned himself a more challenging project: Silk Sonic, a fidelity-obsessed act in which he and onetime tourmate Anderson .Paak recreate the rhythm and blues of the '70s. The duo sought out particular drum skins to better replicate the sounds of the studio during the heyday of Gamble and Huff, when those songwriter-producers polished soul music to an extravagant sheen. With period-specific instrumentation in place, the exuberant pop hitmaker and the acclaimed rapper-singer-drummer with underground cachet recorded as their ancestors did, with just one or two mics for the entire room of musicians.
What if we had a band is a question that is not usually followed by the formation of a successful band. Friends who love music are rarely more than that. But Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars are not normal friends. Five years after touring Europe together as part of Mars' 24k Magic tour, the pair are now known together as Silk Sonic, and they invite you to spend some time with them on 'An Evening With Silk Sonic'.