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Nevertheless, in February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic, Mars was listening to what they had recorded, and "it hit the right chord" so he called .Paak to join him in the studio. However, it was the latter's birthday and, despite being drunk, he met Mars at the studio. When they started to write a song, "a competitive" and a friendly spirit emerged as they were trying to improve on the work. They enjoyed so much working together, the duo decided to keep going. .Paak affirmed that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, they decided to get together in the studio instead of "trying to make music long-distance". In the studio, the duo would jam out, trying to understand how to make people feel good with the songs they created from scratch and what was missing on the tracks, having to recreate a song from scrap at times. While in the studio, Mars and .Paak tried to create a dream setlist. They dubbed it as "the setlist of doom", however they needed someone who could "thread" all the songs. They both admired American musician and singer Bootsy Collins, who not only came up with the name for Mars and Paak's duo but also hosted the album. Mars declared, "Anderson coming into the studio and unlocking something in my brain that I've never used before ... That's how inspiration happens, you know?"
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Sonic disclosed their process when re-working a small transaction on a song. The latter pays tribute to Philadelphia soul featuring a "string section and a sampled rainstorm". Its lyrics detail a heartbreak and how to deal with it after. Mars, D'Mile, and .Paak heard each instrument isolated and realized that the drums were not adequate. The latter replayed the drum section for 20 minutes, as Mars and D'Mile gave their opinion. Once the drumline was established, Mars turned its attention to the piano section, which took ten minutes to find an arrangement everyone enjoyed. According to D'Mile, all the tracks they came up with are included on the album, but one. When they were unhappy with the version created, they remixed it so that everyone from Mars to the engineer's assistant, liked it.
On July 30, 2021, "Skate" was issued as the second single also in several countries. Initially, Mars and .Paak stated the album would be released in the fall of 2021. However, its release was delayed to January 2022, as they wanted to issue more songs. Despite their previous scheduling, on October 8, 2021, coinciding with Mars's birthday, Silk Sonic announced the album's release date of November 12, 2021. On the same date, the record was made available for pre-saves and for pre-order worldwide via Mars's official site with four buying options. On October 29, 2021, the digital marketing agency, Get Engaged, affirmed they were working on campaigns to promote the album. On November 10, 2021, two days before the release of the album, in an event hosted by Spotify, Silk Sonic premiered several songs at West Hollywood's Peppermint Club for a selected group of people. On November 21, 2021, the duo performed "Smokin out the Window" at the American Music Awards of 2021. One week later, Silk Sonic sung "Fly as Me" and "Smokin Out the Window" at the 2021 Soul Train Music Awards. The song "777" appeared in a commercial for AirPods shortly after the release of the album.
"Leave the Door Open" was released as the album's lead single on March 5, 2021, along with its music video. The song was generally well received; reviewers complimented both singers' vocals, as well as the song's composition. It was listed by several publications, including Billboard and Complex, as being among the best songs of the year. The recording was a success, topping the charts in the United States, Israel, and New Zealand, and reached the top ten in several other countries, including Australia, Belgium (Flanders and Wallonia), Canada, and Portugal.
Music critics appreciated Mars' and .Paak's chemistry and songwriting. Andy Kellman of AllMusic praised "the duo's playfulness", as "they push each other into new levels of showmanship without pandering to the audience." Talking about the album's themes, Tani Levitt of Clash described it as "an album about friendship and swagger masquerading as a love album." Sophie Williams of NME lauded Silk Sonic for their attention to detail and wrote that the songs are "rich and colourful", complementing the "all-out pop hooks, lush harmonies and conversational verses." Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone called the album "a lavish love letter to Seventies soul music" and dubbed it the most enjoyable album in Mars's repertoire. Music journalist Jon Pareles of The New York Times said that Mars and .Paak "flaunt skill, effort and scholarship" in the album, which he called a "lavish, impeccable bauble, a purely ornamental not-quite-period piece." Wongo Okon of Uproxx called the album "fun, charismatic, and ambitious in all the best ways," adding that it will "undoubtedly be one of 2021's most memorable albums." Mary Siroky of Consequence called the album "delicious, indulgent, and dripping with Motown, funk, and soul". In a mixed review, No Ripcord writer Joe Rivers rated the album 6 out of 10 and wrote An Evening with Silk Sonic suffers from "a paucity of ideas" with tracks that recycle the same sounds and subject matter.
Seven of the nine songs from the album charted on the Billboard Hot 100 the same week. "Leave the Door Open", "Smokin out the Window", "Love's Train" and "After Last Night" topped the Adult R&B Airplay. This achievement led An Evening with Silk Sonic to become the second album with four number-one singles on the former chart, tying with Toni Braxton's self-titled (1993) studio album.