Singers just don’t croon anymore. Silk Sonic, a resplendently-retro duo formed by Anderson.Paak and Bruno Mars, is set to put that claim down for good with their debut single “Leave the Door Open”.
The straight-up R&B track pays homage to the Motown era with a sixties-inspired sound; opening with a kick of the drum before the band makes a call to attention and Paak swoops in with sweet-talker vocals. “Leave the Door Open” plays out in a classic call and response format. Mars and the band members echo line after line with all of the sexy, soulful energy that glues the song together. It also puts at the forefront the balance between not taking themselves too seriously and making desire clear; demonstrated best in the lyric I won’t bite unless you like — essentially boiling down to “I’m just playin’… but I’m not playin’”. But even if you missed that, the hook says it plainly: I ain’t playin’ no games, every word that I say is coming straight from the heart.
It’s a cocktail of suave braggadocio and lowkey pleading stirred up with the group’s alluring lyrics, live instruments, and harmonic vocals that automatically make it intoxicating.
The music video for “Leave the Door Open” takes the timeline forward. It spotlights late-sixties vibes and street fashion of the seventies with modern flair. Paak and Mars, on drums and piano respectively, are rounded out by band members that fill out their sound in a recording studio; admired engineers and fans who sing along. The cinematography is intimate and vintage, at times voyeuristic and fluster-inducing; with shots panning from the instruments to the singers in constant motion. An extra-nice touch is how the barrier between listener and band disappears as they play up for the camera; breaking the fourth wall to flirt with you directly. The video tugs at nostalgia in more than one way: missing an era of music you probably didn’t see first-hand and longing for live concerts in general.
It’s a shining debut for Silk Sonic, as one could expect from such captivating performers as Bruno Mars and Anderson.Paak. They simply know how to come correct with the swag and distinctiveness that this modern take on musical storytelling needs. As someone with a parent who loves to throw the “What you know about this?” line constantly, I’m looking forward to presenting “Leave the Door Open” as yet another example of current artists channeling a golden era of music.
“Leave the Door Open” is only the beginning for Silk Sonic. An album is in fact on the horizon. One way to keep up is by following them on Twitter @SilkSonic.
If you haven’t listened to “Leave the Door Open” yet, stop what you’re doing and pull it up right now.
If you’re already hip to the single, tell us what you think by dropping a comment below.
Header: Silk Sonic (Atlantic Records)