Listening to Whitney Houston’s ‘I Look to You’

(written November 21, 2009)

Let me start by saying that I’m a huge fan of Whitney Houston. She is one of the truly talented singers of our time, and I continue to lament her unraveling and descent. I still maintain that her first album is the best debut album I’ve ever heard.

I waited for the release of her new ‘comeback’ CD with pointed curiosity and mild hope. ‘I Look to You’ has not given me cause for celebration. I hear all these people saying she’s back with a bang and sounding great…..this is the only song I’ve heard on the CD and I’m disappointed and saddened.

Does anybody else hear on reserved, tentative, uncertain and unseasoned she sounds? There are soothing remnants of her former soulful glory, but the flame flickers weakly. I mean this is Whitney, Princess of the swelling anthem-like ballad and life-song! ‘I Look To You’ simmers, but never boils; instead it moves modesty (just above ordinary) to an anti-climactic ending. It seems clear that Sister Whitney is unable to hit those notes, sustains those riffs and belt us to a satisfied frenzy the way she used to. Understand clearly, I’m not celebrating…I’m heartbroken. I wanted her to have kick-ass comeback.

I hear she suffered a glaring voice-cracking snag on the Today show. I’m glad I didn’t see it and don’t think I want to. Here’s what I say: Whitney and her management should rethink their strategy. Folks will buy the CD in droves out of love, loyalty, yearning and plain curiosity. Be satisfied with that and don’t do any more live performances until she is in good/better voice. Her present raspiness, cracking and lame excuses (‘I was talking/being interviewed with/by Oprah for long time yesterday’) is what people will remember and not the significance of the triumph of this CD even being released after what she has survived.

That’s my 2 cents!

P.S. Heard another track after writing this. No reason to change a word….

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