Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak drop a contender for album of the year

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Harper Smith | Atlantic Records

Dani Heba

Under the name of Silk Sonic, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak released their joint album, “An Evening With Silk Sonic,” on Nov. 12, which makes a strong case for the album of the year.

Throughout the album, Mars and .Paak take listeners through a whirlwind of songs touching on the topics of love, grief, pain, anger and self-confidence, while giving listeners a classic, ‘80s- themed sound.

The duo was rather unexpected and seemed odd when announced. While both are talented singers, it was questionable how they’d fit in together.

However, all those concerns flew out the window with the two-time platinum lead single “Leave The Door Open,” released on March 5. Immediately, the silky smooth ‘80s vibe, no pun intended, was felt.

.Paak kicked off the song, inviting a girl over, singing, “We should be dancin’, romancin’/In the east wing and the west wing/Of this mansion, what’s happenin’?” Mars then follows up with his trademark impassionate vocals, singing, “I ain’t playin’ no games/Every word that I say is coming straight from the heart.” Those vocals were heavily missed, given that Mars’ last album came in 2017 with “24K Magic.” This song left fans eager to hear more.

On July 30, Silk Sonic gave fans a much-awaited follow-up single titled “Skate.” From the drums and the super-smooth beat, the duo provided even more reason for hype for the album.

.Paak once again opens up the song, this time with some game, to the girl he’s asking to skate his way, singing, “In a room full of dimes/You would be a hundred dollars/If bein’ fine was a crime/Girl, they’d lock your lil’ fine ass up in a tower.” In the chorus of the song, Mars sings, “Oh, skate to me baby (skate)/Slide your way on over (slide your way on over),” over the groovy beat. It’s tough to listen to this song without wanting to sing or or dance, and it once again left listeners eager for more and wondering when the album would be released.

On Nov. 5, fans got a long-awaited third single, “Smokin Out The Window,” and an official release date for the album, which would be the following week. In consistency with the two prior singles, the song starts off with a groovy, ‘80s-themed intro. However, the song takes a turn, emphasizing the feeling of the duo in getting played by a girl.

An impassioned and angry Mars sings, “This bitch got me payin’ her rent, payin’ for trips/Diamonds on her neck, diamonds on her wrists/And here I am all alone (all alone).” The chorus of the song features Mars and .Paak questioning their situations, singing, “Smokin’ out the window (Smokin’ out the window)/Singin’, ‘how could she do this to me?’/(How could she do this to me?)/Oh I thought that girl belonged to only me (Mmm)/But I was wrong/’Cause she belong/To everybody, everybody, ooh.”

While most men listening to this song can’t relate to balling out on diamonds and expensive trips for their girls, many can relate to the feeling of getting played over a groovy and impassioned song that resembles the theme of the first two singles.

However, some of the songs get a funky, West Coast themed vibe, including the egotistical but energetic song “Fly As Me” and the party-hopping “777.” These songs show the wild sides of the duo, with Mars singing “Dealer, where you at? Deal for me/(Dealer, where you at? Where you at?)/Woo, give me the chips, give me the chips/’Cause I’m ‘bout to go all in (Why?),” and .Paak singing, “Stacks on stacks (Stacks), racks on racks (Racks)/Moonwalk to the money like I’m Mike Jack/Yes, I’m faded, pupils dilated/But the man in the mirror sayin’, ‘Go on, get your paper,’” referencing the iconic “Man In The Mirror” by Michael Jackson on his 1987 classic album “Bad” in detailing his plans.

In the former song, the duo feels itself , with .Paak singing “Now have you ever been with a player?/Take you downtown where they treat me like the mayor,” and the lines “I deserve to be/With somebody as fly as me,” over a beat that one can walk down the street feeling an extra boost of self-confidence listening to.

“Put On A Smile” and “After Last Night” are sure to get listeners deep in their bags, due to the slow and melodic nature of the songs. Enlisting the help of Bootsy Collins on both tracks and Thundercat on the latter, the duo shows its emotional sides on these two songs.

The former starts off with Collins saying, “Take it from your Uncle Bootsy/Ain’t no shame beggin’ in the rain,” setting the tone for the rest of the song. In the chorus, the duo sings, “Tryna fight these tears from cryin’/But Lord knows I’m dyin’, dyin’/Tryna put on a smile, smile (Put on a smile)/Ooh, out here smilin’ like a fool/When the only thing worth smilin’ for was/You, you, you.” In the latter the duo sings, “After last night/After last night, I think I’m in love with you (I think I’m in love with you)/Woke up and I can’t get you out of my head,” emphasizing the infatuation they have for the girls they just met.

Finally, the duo closes off the album with the slow, smooth and romantic “Blast Off.” The more optimistic and forward-looking song sees the pair discuss its desire to blast off with their girls. The duo sings, “Oh, let’s tip-toe to a magical place/Blast off and kiss the moon tonight/We’ll watch the world go crazy from outer space,” possibly in a reference to Mars’s song “Talking To The Moon” from his debut studio album “Doo-Wops & Hooligans.”

Hopefully, Mars and .Paak blast off to work on another phenomenal album for listeners.