Silk Sonic Immerses Funk & Soul Into Mainstream Music

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Rachel Koopersmith and Max Beitzel

An Evening With Silk Sonic, released in late 2021 featuring artists Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, explores a variety of musical genres ranging from funk to soul while also curating a nostalgic ‘70s feel. The duo won Favorite R&B Song at the American Music Awards with the song “Leave the Door Open”, and executed a “clean sweep” at the Grammys winning all four awards nominated for. 

The collaboration between Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak blends their two styles together perfectly with much of Bruno Mars’ music focusing on love and relationships in pop, and Anderson .Paaks’ music focusing on similar topics in the soul, funk, and hip-hop genres. The 70’s feel is a new direction for the two artists, but is not too far out of their comfort zone, especially with hints of 80s and 90s music sprinkled into Bruno’s solo albums. The chemistry between Mars and .Paak is apparent even though it is their first collaboration. The way that the two artists alternate back and forth seamlessly makes for a very enjoyable listening experience and it seems like the collaboration was destined to happen.

Listeners’ first impression and introduction to the album works to set the mood and style of the rest of the album. The album’s intro track introduces the duo and Bootsy Collins, who acts as the album’s narrator and adds background vocals, as well.

The narrative begins with the hit single “Leave The Door Open” where the listeners first hear the undeniable chemistry between Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak. It also begins the album’s narrative about the album’s main character, who embodies both Anderson and Bruno, and his love interest. In “Leave The Door Open,” the audience is introduced to the album’s character inviting his love interest to spend time with him and enter his life romantically. 

Following in a similar manner, the upbeat “Fly As Me” depicts the album’s main character as cool and confident. This song furthers the 70s and 80s funk style established earlier in the album. 

“After Last Night” is the longest track on the album at 4 minutes and 10 seconds which is noticeable only because of its somewhat lengthy introduction by Bootsy Collins, who is one of the greatest Funk/R&B artists of all time and is a trademark music artist of the 70s. The lyrics of “After Last Night” show the album’s character desperate to get back with his love interest. 

“Smokin Out The Window” signals a shift in the album’s narrative. While the track entails a joyous, upbeat rhythm, the lyrics tell a different story. The album’s character has been swindled by a woman which has left him speechless and ultimately very sad. 

In contrast to “Smokin Out The Window”, “Put On a Smile’s” lyrics match its composure. This song signifies the end of a relationship, so the album’s character is trying to put up a happy front. We both think this song is the most underrated and overlooked song on the album due to the happy composure of the album. 

“777” acts as a rebound track for the album’s character as we see him using his lavish life to mitigate the pain. The album’s character does this by gambling in Las Vegas. This song mirrors hit singles from both Mars’ and .Paak’s 2016 works while also incorporating a hint of rock.  

“Skate”, the second single released prior to the album, shows the album’s character serenading a new love interest. This sort of romantic, player-ish song follows Bruno Mars’ typical song style on his solo albums such as 24K Magic. 

 To close the album, Silk Sonic finishes with “Blast Off”, a bittersweet song about the album’s character and his new relationship. The song radiates a vibey, lighter than air feel, especially with the final riff. Bootsy Collins closes off the track and the soft funk/R&B feel acts as a send off for Silk Sonic. 


Max: “An Evening With Silk Sonic” was my favorite album that was released in 2021. I love every song on the album and enjoy that I can listen to it in one sitting due to its shorter length. I personally love Mars and have recently got into .Paak’s music as well. I listened to the singles with friends who also really enjoyed it and when it was released, we listened to it together which made me have a real personal connection to the album. I really love this album and will be listening to it for many years to come.


Rachel: I share a lot of similar thoughts with Max but can not say as confidently that this was my favorite album of 2021. Bruno Mars has always been a fan favorite in the Koopersmith household and I started getting into Anderson .Paak’s music during the heart of the pandemic. On the album specifically, I loved the duo’s chemistry and this production definitely led me to listen to more of their solo projects. My favorite part of Silk Sonic’s album was definitely the incorporation of the 70s sound and though this is fairly typical nowadays, I think this incorporation makes it a fan favorite for those of all ages. 


Overall, I am so excited to see the places Silk Sonic can and will go and I will be on the lookout for new music. I’m sure most of you have listened to the album but if not, both Max and I highly recommend it!