Silk got a raw deal. They didn’t have the flash of Jodeci, the soul of Intro or Playa, or the good guy doo wop harmonies of Boyz II Men or Shai. What they did have was a stellar lead singer in Gary Jenkins, whose church-reared vocals dominated every song. Silk’s debut album, Lose Control, remains the only full album worth a damn in their catalog.
But How Could You Say You Love Me, from their self-titled sophomore album, is probably my favorite Silk song. It’s not the best (that distinction is saved for If You), but it’s so damn thrilling to listen to. Gary’s skills are on full display. The interplay between his voice, Big G’s perfect phrasing, and John-John’s thinner, plaintive vocal make for a quiet storm masterpiece.
Songs like this don’t get made much anymore because (rightly or wrongly) there is a sense that the dramatic elements are telegraphed in such a way as to be ingenuine. I don’t necessarily agree with that assessment (at least not all the time). Here though the production is relatively subtle focusing mostly on the keys, allowing Gary’s ability to sell any damn thing he’s handed.