Whitney Houston: On Her Way Back

One of the first albums I bought was, Whitney. I bought it for I Wanna Dance with Somebody, and I fell in love with the whole album.

Although I was barely 10 years old, her vocal delivery had me believing I could identify with what she was singing about in Where Do Broken Hearts Go (“Where do broken hearts go … and if somebody loves you, won’t they always love you), and Where You Are (Tossing and turning in my sleep, can’t take being without you.)  I had not so much as kissed a girl.

The same year, on one of my family trips to Detroit I picked up her first album, Whitney Houston. Even at this age I knew that she was the real deal. I imagine the salesperson was wondering what such a young person was doing buying it.  Little did he know, I was learning her songs on my flute, preparing myself to play with her one day.

My history with her previous albums is why I was hesitant to listen to her new album, I Look to You. I did not want to be amidst the disappointed. So many people were saying “She lost The Voice” … then I heard, “Her performance on Good Morning America was horrible.”

I was sitting at my computer at 3am a couple weeks ago, and could not take it anymore. I had to have it.  I bought it.  Then I put it on my iPod, and waited still.

I listened to it on the streetcar the next night. The verdict: it is not a horrible album. It even has a few songs that will prove to be classics; most notably Million Dollar Bill, and I Look to You. I just wish the rest of the album took direction from those songs, as the biggest flaw of the album is that it does not have a cohesiveness to it. The musical styles are too varied. When I listen to an album I expect to be taken on a journey, and this one leaves me feeling a bit disoriented.

Even in light of that, it is still worth hearing, and supporting her steps to a comeback. The beauty of the song I Look to You almost makes you want to cry, and if you watch the stunningly simplistic video you probably will. I buy very few music videos but this I wanted to.

As far as the Good Morning America performance goes: we all have our bad days. The media used the headlines it to make it seem like Whitney had a beef with Oprah. So many began with, “Whitney Blames Oprah”.  What she said was that she was sorry her voice was not as good as it could be because she chose to do a lengthy interview when she should have been on vocal rest.   Blame puts such as negative connotation on it.

I think as she gets back into her groove, we will see Whitney Houston’s real comeback. And, in the meantime, this album has done nothing to kick her out of my top vocalists list, because I can hear what is still there.   She has not lost The Voice, she is finding it again.

Reviewed by Jef Kearns
Jef Kearns is a Soul Flautist proving that flute can get just as “down and dirty” as sax.
Check him at www.jefkearns.com

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