★★★★ of 5
With the distinct ’70s flavor, An Evening with Silk Sonic is Mars and .Paak’s love letter to the era’s quiet storm and soul sensibilities. This is a nine-track homage to the pioneers of Philadelphia soul, and getting the legendary Bootsy Collins on board just made it more apparent.
Here are a few talking points.
Obviously, “Leave the Door Open” is one of the most acclaimed songs of the year (and a personal choice for my top 5 songs of 2021). The lush arrangement is a throwback to the ’70s bands our parents used to listen to—The Stylistics, the Delfonics, and even Blue Magic. This is Silk Sonic’s “Versace on the Floor.”
Two songs (“Fly as Me” and “777”) are upbeat tunes which are coincidentally placed right after the most melodic songs (“Leave the Door Open” and “Put on a Smile”). And while both sound as though they don’t quite belong to the whole album, “777” takes the cake as the dud that sticks out the most.
The Deepest Cut:
Whereas listeners came for “Leave the Door Open,” do stay for “Put on a Smile.” A song that’s a callback to The Temptations’ “I Wish It Would Rain,” this is an elegy that perfectly encapsulates Philadelphia soul at its most heartbroken state.
Both Mars and .Paak specialize in melodic harmonies and arrangements over anything else; and that predilection usually means that the lyrical content ends up shallow and, worse, bland. After all, one can only take in so much erotic invitations and sob stories in songs without getting fed up with the emotions.
But then, isn’t that the point? Silk Sonic doesn’t aspire to be deep. On the contrary, they’re contented with using their sound—schmaltzy lyrics be damned—to get their message across.
And if we’re being honest, it’s almost enough.