Playing tight - getting a feel for good timing
Embroidered in silk under shimmering disco balls, the devilish duo Silk Sonic portray the music of the past and present in an adventurous and important album. Seventies funk, soul, pop, R'n'B and hip-hop concentrated against the sadness of the moment. The first LP by these two pop perfectionists does not claim to be particularly multi-dimensional. With its aimless ease, it is essentially one big high in rather humble times. Nine exciting and original songs with Grammy potential generate a euphoric, emotional intensity with a big wink. Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak invite you to dance and celebrate the memory.
Hardly any other varieties of pop are more mass-appealing and more lucrative than R&B. If you add a little more soul, blues, and hip-hop vibes to this, you get the musical recipe for mass success. But it is not that simple. With little more than what is covered here, it’s easy to get lost among the thousands of artists trying the same. The pop world expects more. All-rounder Bruno Mars developed from his everyday music into a versatile and extraordinarily talented singer with charm. He landed world hits like “Marry You” or “Locked out of Heaven”. Songs that most people have already heard somewhere. Jack of all trades Anderson .Paak catapulted himself out of the underground into the limelight overnight and earned tons of enthusiasm. He not only worked with and for a group of the most important artists of our time such as Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Nas, J. Cole, and Mac Miller, but developed his very own signature modern, urban music from these dynamics.
Both are connected by an expanded musical vocabulary as well as arrangements that have been produced in a different way. Nuances that are unparalleled in their respective disciplines. Silk Sonic aren’t here to create the music of the future from the threads of then and now, but in “An Evening with Silk Sonic” they tell of the history of Afro-American pop music with an unbroken thirst for adventure, without looking backwards. Like two typical escapists, Mars and .Paak take us on a great musical adventure of this time. Above all on the audiovisual level: The three staged music videos for “Skate,” “Leave The Door Open,” and “Smokin Out The Window” present a rousing aura. The cinematic videos are in perfect symbiosis with the songs they accompany.
Silk Sonic deliver a particularly comforting experience and show that escapism is possible even if you are not allowed to meet and touch. They’ve recorded an album that has the power to embrace and inspire. It’s unapologetically funky and groovy, in stark contrast with the devastating pandemic. One can only guess that the two exceptional talents have mastered their craft together with funk legend Bootsy Collins. The songs sound like lost classics from the pop archives of the 70s to 80s, but somehow simultaneously rooted in contemporary music.
The concept of using classical influences without getting lost in references from Disco-R&B works. Lyrically, the project makes no claim to the identity-creating power of soul of the 60s and 70s. On the contrary: they deal with the emotional chaos young men experience without being too serious for a single second. This is not about the declared culture war of the 1970s, to which genre greats like Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, and others dedicated themselves at the time. It's about simply being sound-filled joie de vivre with a wink. The record is simple yet elegant, and therefore not out of date. Two musicians approach craft their own story as a “supergroup” and present their perspectives with which one can view music. This does not result in exhausting and artificial conceptual album, but a musical triumph that shines.
Silk Sonic flirt pointedly with jazz, afro percussion, and psychedelic funk without imitating old luminaries. It is both their perspective on and their interpretation of the past, and it ultimately expands their own boundaries. Admittedly, the 31 minutes and 17 seconds of their debut album are sexy, the entire aesthetic surrounding it is smart and carefully designed. It does, however, fail to remain entirely free from a certain monotony. These two likable musicians manage to conjure up a driving energy with their presence, which is undeniably captivating. All of this sounds like a once-in-a-century musical achievement, which in a sense it is not and would be too exaggerated. It is a skillful exaggeration of countless disco-infected pop moments (which were designed for pleasure), and turns an initial joke into an art to be taken seriously.
Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak’s Silk Sonic conveys the values of yesteryear in the most pleasant way. The chemistry between the two is compelling and this album gives it more room to grow. It sounds familiar, but somehow different and new. A fresh wind is blowing through the mainstream, because in the end two leaders of today's pop music have joined forces to expand their own creative horizons. “An Evening with Silk Sonic” is not pathetic pop, but an exciting and refined work. It’s worth your while to give in to the euphoria without bias.
If you feel like talking to like-minded people about Silk Sonic and other artists of their kind, you should definitely stop by mukken. Here you will find numerous musicians and personal ads. If you'd rather read more features on exciting artists, then it's definitely worth taking a look at our blog. How about, for example, an article about The Shins or something about Schmyt? Either way, we look forward to seeing you!
Originally published on December 15, 2021, updated on December 15, 2021