Ruminations on TV Shows, Comics, And Music
Silk Sonic Reimagined Discography: Mysoginist Melodies By The Terrible Exes You Should Never Take Back
The song descriptions are going to tell the whole story here. Bruno Mars and Anderson.Paak would be terrible boyfriends to anyone. They're unfaithful, egomaniacal, misogynist dirtbags with incredibly smooth voices, and exceptional style. Silk Sonic is a pretty apt name for their collaboration, as I'm guessing Red Flag Lovers is already a band playing somewhere.
I could have done a Bruno Mars discography and an Anderson.Paak album with the Silk Sonic material split between them, but the truth is, I have to be exactly in the right mood to listen to either, so why not just have one double album that has all the songs I enjoy that they appear in. If they end up making even more music I like in the future, I'll just pretend this album is by Prince and throw a third disc on it.
I love a dirty funk groove that sounds like it was lifted from a low budget 1970s movie, so this is a perfect start for me. Bruno Mars is trying his best James Brown (which is great and all, but he ain't no James Brown). The party horns are also a great touch. The lyrics tell you right where this album is going to live. Bruno is straight up cheating with a woman, and "giving her permission" to blame him when they get caught. He also mentions making her drinks. I would not trust Bruno Mars or Anderson.Paak to mix me a drink. They have definitely each purchased roofies before. Bootsy Collins is probably a safer bet. I think he's a creepy enabler (I mean, shit, he played for James Brown) but I don't think he was ever going to hurt anyone directly, and certainly not now that he's 410 years old.
2. Watching Her Move
Bruno Mars is at his best when he's trying to be Michael Jackson. His voice has that perfect smoothness, plus he's actually believable as a womanizer, which Jackson was ... not. This is a straight up happy pop song with lyrics about a creepy dude watching a woman dance, which is right there in the title. What? Did you think he meant he was watching her move houses? I mean, if she lives in his neighborhood she SHOULD move houses, and maybe change her name.
3. Where Did She Go?
We're in the same club. There's a different, but similar, infectious bassline, and the woman from the last song has, understandably, beelined out of the club to get away from Creepy Bruno. So now he's doing an early 2010s bopper trying to track her down. I hope she got out of town safe, and never has to see this intensely inappropriate singer again.
4. Good Heels
Everything slows down to a breezy 90s rap ballad tempo, as we move from Creepy Bruno to Red Flag Anderson, as he and Jazmine Sullivan sing a duet about how they also suck and are cheating on their significant others.
5. Smokin Out The Window
This has been recommended to me a billion times in the last few weeks, and I get it. It's a definite future funk classic with a great hook about three guys whose dicks should be dry and flaccid for the rest of their heterosexual dogshit days. You reap what you sew, Bruno. You treat women like disposable sperm depositories, and the women who gravitate toward you are going to take advantage of you financially, and they deserve to be compensated for dealing with your shit. This "No Scrubs" take, except the women are the scrubs just doesn't sound at all realistic. But it does sound catchy as hell, probably because every musician involved has every strain of HPV ever recorded.
6. The Lazy Song
I can definitely relate to a song about not being motivated to do anything but stay home and masturbate. I was in my twenties once, too. This breezy pseudo-island jam, on its own merits, is a great song that might not be written by a complete piece of sh...oh, wait, I just heard the second verse. Anyone who feels the need to brag about having a degree (who wants to place bets that it's an associates degree in Women's Studies?), and talking about how girls that have sex with him think he's great at sex is 1.) Terrible In Bed, and 2.) Probably lying about having a degree.
Now we go mid-90s Metallica hard, as *checks notes* Chris Stapleton, and *rechecks notes* Ed Sheeran? join Bruno Mars to sing the most generically written song comparing sex to guns that has ever been written. I mean, as a piece of writing, this song is pure garbage, but it's three sweet sounding guys who can really sing juxtaposed with Bruno Mars going absolutely ham on guitar.
8. Lyk Dis
Now we fall back into the 70s-groove-reminiscent-2010s-with-that-early-Weeknd-production and Kendrik Lamar style vocals as Anderson.Paak tells you how he likes to fuck. That's all there is to this song, but it's solid and short.
9. Treasure brings the fun and 70s funk back. Bruno can't help but sound like a sweet, uplifting baby face. This song is all about how much he values the generic girl that he's singing to. But, like, you've heard his other songs, right? It can't last any longer than three minutes (and according to some of his exes, that's true about a lot of things Bruno Mars does).
10. Make It Better
There were a ton of white dudes, and morally questionable dudes of color trying to be Marvin Gaye. But let's be real, if Bruno Mars is the Michael Jackson of his generation, this song makes the case that Anderson.Paak is its Marvin Gaye. He loves singing about his dick (he doesn't have the religious angle, and that's fine by me). This is a cheeky and fun song about how he and his partner role play as if they're cheating to keep things spicey. This might be the healthiest song on this album.
11. Yada Yada
But he's Marvin Gaye with a filthy, filthy mouth. While "Make It Better" was straight out of the 70s, this is straight out of the 90s hip-hop that sampled the 70s, with a little 2010s thrown in. This is just a generic, but relatable Life Is Hard And I Don't Know What To Do Except Be Mad song. It's not hyper-focused, it's just generalized ... I don't want to say rage ... frustration expressed in a perfectly reasonable way that, nevertheless, would probably seem threatening to your whitest friends.
12. Chosen One
This is our third Anderson.Paak song in a row, and it really feels like the halfway point between the two previous songs. This is smooth guy at the open mic sings song to specific girl in the audience, but will take any girl who comes his way. The rap portion is tight. The chorus is a head bopper. There are references to sex as a gun that put "Blow" to absolute shame.
This was the first actual Silk Sonic single that I heard. I spent a weekend with my father a few months ago where we watched several Blacksploitation-era movies, including That's The Way Of The World, which has Harvey Keitel as a music producer trying to get Earth, Wind, And Fire over, only to discover that organized crime runs the music business and wants him to make an uninspiring family group The Next Big Thing instead. For a movie ostensibly about Earth, Wind, and Fire, there's way too much emphasis placed on Not Earth, Wind, And Fire, including a roughly six year long montage set to a song by the fictional, less-talented band. But there is a scene in a roller-skating rink where actual Earth, Wind, And Fire play, and they tear shit up (musically, they do not riot at the rink, though they would have been justified if they did). This track would have fit perfectly in that scene, too. It's totally a scummy-DJ-with-a-lot-of-talent-trying-to-get-with-a (probably underage) -roller-skater jam.
14. Talking To The Moon
I don't watch "The Voice" anymore, but I imagine this piano ballad by Bruno Mars has been used at least a million times in auditions. It's a perfect slice of emotional Gurl I Luv You But Can't Talk To You.
15. What More Can I Say
Not the Jay-Z song, though that's what I think of every time it shows up. This is an Anderson.Paak, 2010s rapper sings about trying to be good but he's attracted to a married woman. There's enough "Lord, give me strength" for me to realize he's more of a Marvin Gaye than I gave him credit for a few tracks previously.
16. Just The Way You Are
There's more 80s pop to this Bruno Mars classic. This is another generic, Gurl You're Perfect And You Don't Know It, Lemme Tell You How Great You Are but it fucken crushes. I first heard this when I was listening to tons of mash-ups, and djs were using both the music and the lyrics in a ton of different great tracks. But it is totally another red flag that this guy is a smooth fuckboi who can't be trusted. This is the end of the first disc.
17. After Last Night
If Prince made his 1990s erotic funk in the 70s, it might have sounded like this Bootsy-Collins first Silk Sonic song. I had to do a fair amount of research to discover who the female vocalists on this song were because, well, fuckboi production.
Another laid-back rap by Anderson.Paak, this one is a super brief reminder to the woman he's currently gifting his dick to that he's about to come home and they better be prepared for his fuckery. It's only really acceptable if you imagine this is part of that healthy role playing he was doing earlier.
19. Runaway Baby
An almost Lenny Kravitz groove at the start of the song decays into a basic riff-centric song where Bruno admits he's the shittiest boyfriend you could ever hope for and he tells women to run away from him. Solid advice. He's got King Crabs, which themselves have syphillis.
20. Fly As Me
From Kravitz riff back to Discount James Brown vocals. Bootsy and the horn section are all over this track about how lucky you'd be to be seen with any member of Silk Sonic because they're so hot and so good at The Sex. The music on this track is untouchable. The vocals just shouldn't be touched.
I'm pretty sure this is the first track where I identified it as a Bruno Mars song the first time I heard it. I had a couple of friends who would quote this song when they were being melodramatic about what good friends they were. This song, weirdly, sounds like it comes from The Lion King. I don't know if it's because young Bruno hasn't fully grown into his voice yet, or if it's the ... no, it's definitely the background vocals. I picture them as gazelles.
22. Uptown Funk
One of the most inescapable songs of the 2010s. It's a Mark Ronson track with Bruno on vocals, smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy. You definitely already know it. It was so hot, it made a dragon want to retire, man. The biggest ugh factor is that I listened to this song once over a week and a half ago, and it has popped back into my head every time I try to pause my thoughts and get some sleep. It's just too hot.
23. Blast Off
This could have been a fun opening track. It's my second favorite Anderson vocal track. It's an almost timeless, space-themed, funk ballad. Lots of effects offer the perfect accompaniment to his vocals. This has more movements than most of the other songs on this album, but still only clocks in at 4:38.
This is likely the first song I ever heard with Bruno Mars. It's a Travie McCoy rap with Mars on the chorus, and it's the most Hawaiian track Mars has been on. It's a precursor to his 24K Magic persona, which I mostly avoided on this album. I'm much more tolerant of "I want to be a rich piece of shit" than "I have become a rich piece of shit" songs.
25. Leave The Door Open
Back to the 70s disco funk ballads. There's a lot of self-talking about just how great Bruno is and how this lady he's singing about would be lucky to get some Bruno in her ... life. It sounds so sweet, and so tight, but it has the really trite lines that let you know it was written by an absolute dog. Whack him in the nose with a newspaper, and close that door, or he's going to run into the neighborhood and get every dog paw-regnant.
26. Locked Out Of Heaven
Uh, yeah. This very What The Police Thought Reggae Sounded Like In The 80s ballad banger is a bit of a departure from most everything else on this double album. This song is all chorus, no verse, but it's a damned catchy chorus. I'm not sure how many artists could have pulled this off. The lack of verses makes it so that there aren't any red flags here. A totally nice guy could have recorded this. But Bruno Mars did, instead.
27. Scared Money
This is almost an interlude track by Anderson.Paak. It starts off sounding like someone sing rapping over the music playing in an elevator thirty years ago but eventually transitions into 2010s meth rap.
28. Get Bigger puts us back in the elevator but Anderson positively folics over the beats with a song about the jobs he took to keep himself alive before he became a famous singer. It rings absolutely true, which is rarely the case with songs on this subject. This is one of the few songs on this album that I wish was a bigger hit.
29. Marry You
In the '90s, Paula Abdul released a single called "Will You Marry Me?" a proposal song to Emilio Estevez, who she married and divorced in rapid fashion. It had bells, and Stevie Wonder on harmonica, and was a big old bag of cheese ballad. This track is lacking only Stevie. It's otherwise an even more generically written but otherwise similar track. I'm glad this isn't to anyone specific, as that person should realize that if they married Bruno, the two year Abdul/Estevez marriage would look like Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn's.
30. Ladies Is Pimps Too
"This is an official DJ X-Factor mixtape session" is a great signal that this is going to be an early 21st century style alt radio track. Jay-Z samples behind autotuned rap-singing. This is actually an AKA joint that just heavily features Mr. Mars. Honestly, I like it more for the Hova sample than the Mars vocals.
31. Put On A Smile
Back to Bootsy and the actual Silk Sonic songs, this is just a solid groove. And the lyrics are a bit of a departure, but only a bit. It's that point when your horrible ex talks to you about their feelings, and how much they tried to be good but you make them just So Sad. If anyone serenades you with this song, RUN. If you hear someone do this song justice on a karaoke mic, shake their hand, buy them a drink, but DON'T go home with them.
32. Nothin On You
Ok, back to ballady Bruno crooning about how much he loves you and how perfect you are. It sounds so sincere, but how could he have written so many of these songs. This is a B.O.B. song where they do the verses inbetween Mars's catchy as hell chorus. It came out the same year as "Ladies Is Pimps To", though it sounds like it's from a different decade. The B.O.B. lyrics make Bruno Mars seem like the Poet Laureate Of The Planet.
33. When I Was Your Man
Whooo. We made it all the way through this double album, and hopefully no one who read this slept with anyone on this album (except maybe Bootsy Collins, if he's your type, I wish you both all the happiness a roll in the sack can grant you both). This is a piano drenched show closer with falsetto fade out magic, and lyrics about how he's an absolute dog who fucked up the relationship. No shit, Bruno, you're A TERRIBLE PARTNER. At least he's being up front about it here, even if he's trying to paint himself as somehow also sympathetic. Buying flowers and holding hands was the least you could have done, creepo.