American soul super duo Silk Sonic, featuring the indelible talents of Anderson Paak and Bruno Mars, have returned with their second single, the impossibly smooth ‘Skate’.
Featuring the ’70s aesthetic that the two have fully embraced with their new project, ‘Skate’ is the joyous and loose summer jam that acts as a counterpoint to the heart-wrenching balladry of the previous single ‘Leave the Door Open’.
‘Skate’ is less harmonically complex than ‘Leave the Door Open’, but that’s only because ‘Leave the Door Open’ is honestly one of the most harmonically complex commercial pop songs I’ve ever heard. No constant key changes or impossibly layered vocals here: just big, bright, disco-tactic R&B.
It also feels strange to call Silk Sonic a commercial pop project. Obviously, Paak and Mars are going for a throwback vibe based on their mutual appreciation for old-school soul and R&B, but because Paak and Mars are also two of the biggest musicians in the world, the mainstream decided to embrace the time capsule aspects of the duo’s sound anyway. My friend Sara has never heard anything from ’70s Philly soul, but she absolutely loves Silk Sonic.
‘Skate’, like ‘Leave the Door Open’ before it, takes its cues from Philadelphia soul institution MFSB. MFSB were the house band behind the Gamble and Huff led Philadelphia International record label, whose work can be heard on classic records from The O’Jays, Wilson Picket, and the Soul Train theme.
The twinkling glockenspiels, the vibrant saccharine string lines, and the funky chicken-scratch guitar are all MFSB signatures, and it’s cool to hear a couple of huge pop stars pay homage to a style of music that has long since faded from the cultural conversation. It also doesn’t hurt that ‘Skate’ is catchy as hell.
Check out the video for ‘Skate’ down below.