After leaving the door open for what felt like an eternity, Silk Sonic, comprised of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, has finally unleashed their highly anticipated second single. Building on the 70s R&B foundation of “Leave The Door Open,” “Skate” finds Silk Sonic slightly upping the tempo for a late summer anthem of flirtatious fun.
Produced by Bruno and D’Mile, and written by Bruno, Anderson, and James Fauntleroy among others, “Skate” leans into the duo’s penchant for knowingly corny lyrics that work because of their self-awareness and charisma. In general, “Skate” is a genuinely great time. Where “Leave The Door Open” was undoubtedly a vocal showcase for Bruno, “Skate” is more concerned with letting the duo have a good time without any kind of mission or agenda. With a first verse that includes a Rapunzel reference (“If bein’ fine was a crime/Girl, they’d lock your lil’ fine ass up in a tower”), Anderson immediately establishes “Skate” as a song that paints a picture of pair of guys pining for what could be the beginning of a summer fling. Gorgeous live instrumentation grounds “Skate” and keeps it in line with the precedent set by “Leave The Door Open.” In particular, the track is bolstered by the drums in the intro, the conga drums and strings in the background, and the funky guitar throughout.
The lively arrangements provide the perfect pockets for Bruno and Anderson to play off each other’s vocal choices. For example, in the sublime pre-chorus, Bruno throws away the first half of the line with a devil-may-care attitude (“I’m tryna roll”) and then accentuates the second half with a burst of energy (“I’m tryna ride”). Bruno and Anderson deliver a remarkably consistent pop vocal that offers up a nice contrast to their characteristically horny lyrics (“I can smell your sweet perfume/Mmm, you smell better than a barbecue”). The most interesting parts of “Skate” are the key change in the bridge, and, more importantly, the way they’re blending parts of their own cultures into the 70s R&B blueprint. As we await An Evening With Silk Sonic, “Skate” is sure to hold us over for another four months as much as we’d try to fight it.