My girl Erica sent me an email today expressing her hopes that the new Whitney Houston album will give her what she needs from Whitney.
My response (which I think succinctly gets at how I feel bout Whitney):
To be fair, I ain’t never liked her. Or rather, I ain’t never liked what Clive made her. I don’t want I Wanna Dance With Somebody. I don’t even want My Love Is Your Love.
I want Exhale. I want Why Does It Hurt So Bad. I want Heartbreak Hotel. I want My Name is Not Susan.
But here’s the thing. She is working with all the one-trick pony new jacks running around (i.e. the Akon collabo is on the final tracklisting). So what we’re gonna get is what everyone else is doing, but potentially better sung.
Let me be clear: Do. Not. Want.
Frankly – she shoulda took her ass across the border to Philly and had the Soulquarians lace her with some real black shit. Period. The shit that Dre and Vidal did on Usher’s Here I Stand is TRANSCENDANT. I’m sure they could work the same magic. Or Raphael Saadiq. Imagine Whitney, stripped of Clive’s white girl oversinging bullshit, tackling a concoction like I Found My Everything.
Short of that, I ain’t interested. Period. End of discussion.
Extreme? Yea, lil bit. But my feelings about Whitney Houston are like that. Her instrument is damn near peerless, but the best I can say for her body of work is that its inconsistent. Except Exhale, which I contend is the best thing she’s ever recorded and the best showcase for her interpretive vocal gifts, even the songs I cite above are merely decent.
Like aging divas before her (Mariah and Janet), she’ll chase trendy instead of transcendant. And people will eat it up because, given what she’s been through, we want her to succeed.
I too would like to see her succeed; my definition of success for her is just different.