Monday, September 21, 2009

Million Dollar Voice

Whitney Houston "I Look To You" album review

The album opens up with “Million Dollar Bill” penned by Alicia Keys, the song is a wonderful homage to the R & B groove of 70’s and from there the album doesn’t disappoint. My favourite track is Leon Russell’s “A Song For You” which start off slow and builds to a dance floor anthem. There was a bit of confusion as to which song would be the first single, “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” penned by Diane Warren was a contender and then dropped in favour of “I look To You”. I usually like Warren’s song, the lyrics are very meaningful to Whitney but there is something off with the vocal arrangement, it’s like the lyrics don’t fit the music. The beautiful title track written by R. Kelly was kept for 10 years by Clive Davis until he felt it was right for Whitney, or rather until she cleaned herself up. When reviewing an artist with a voice like Whitney I usually concentrate on the songs because she’s not a songwriter and is usually at the whim of her songwriters, but it’s no secret that Whitney has abused her vocal chords probably from smoking drugs through the years. Her voice is not what it used to be, you expect her to soar or crescendo on some of the songs but it never seems to happen, whether it was written that way or not it leaves you wondering. On the positive side her voice has a new raspy edge to it which gives it character and life. Lyrics like “I've acted out my love in stages with ten thousand people watching” come across as autobiographical, you get the feeling that all the songs were written for her. You can’t help but see the similarities to her life from the track “Nothing but Love” to the closing number “Salute” her swan song to Bobby Brown. “I Look To You” is great little collection of songs and possibly one of her most cohesive albums.

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