Source : ExaggerArt
The fondest memory I have had of Whitney Houston is not her famous hits, her scandalous news during her fall from grace… and especially not ‘The Bodyguard’ movie with Kevin Costner.
It happens to be this interesting passage about her in Bret Easton Ellis’s amazing novel, “American Psycho” quoted below.Â Thought it would be a good way to pay homage to the late singer.
Whitney Houston burst onto the music scene in 1985 with her self-titled LP which had four number one hit singles on it, including â€œThe Greatest Love of All,â€ â€œYou Give Good Loveâ€ and â€œSaving All My Love for You,â€ plus it won a Grammy Award for best pop vocal performance by a female and two American Music Awards, one for best rhythm and blues single and another for best rhythm and blues video. She was also cited as best new artist of the year by Billboard and by Rolling Stone magazine. With all this hype one might expect the album to be an anticlimactic, lackluster affair, but the surprise is that Whitney Houston (Arista) is one of the warmest, most complex and altogether satisfying rhythm and blues records of the decade and Whitney herself has a voice that defies belief. From the elegant, beautiful photo of her on the cover of the album (in a gown by Giovanne De Maura) and its fairly sexy counterpart on the back (in a bathing suit by Norma Kaman) one knows that this isnâ€™t going to be a blandly professional affair; the record is smooth but intense and Whitneyâ€™s voice leaps across so many boundaries and is so versatile (though sheâ€™s mainly a jazz singer) that itâ€™s hard to take in the album on a first listening. But you wonâ€™t want to. Youâ€™ll want to savor it over many.
It opens with â€œYou Give Good Loveâ€ and â€œThinking About You,â€ both produced and arranged by Kashif, and they emanate warm, lush jazz arrangements but with a contemporary synthesized beat and though theyâ€™re both really good songs, the album doesnâ€™t get kicking until â€œSomeone for Meâ€ which was produced by Jermaine Jackson, where Whitney sings longingly against a jazz-disco background and the difference between her longing and the sprightliness of the song is very moving. The ballad â€œSaving All My Love for Youâ€ is the sexiest, most romantic song on the record. It also has a killer saxophone solo by Tom Scott and one can hear the influences of sixties girl-group pop in it (it was cowritten by Gerry Goffin) but the sixties girl groups were never this emotional or sexy (or as well produced) as this song is. â€œNobody Loves Me Like You Doâ€ is a glorious duet with Jermaine Jackson (who also produced it) and just one example of how sophisticated lyrically this album is. The last thing it suffers from is a paucity of decent lyrics which is what usually happens when a singer doesnâ€™t write her own material and has to have her producer choose it. But Whitney and company have picked well here.
The dance single â€œHow Will I Knowâ€ (my vote for best dance song of the 1980s) is a joyous ode to a girlâ€™s nervousness about whether another guy is interested in her. Itâ€™s got a great keyboard riff and itâ€™s the only track on the album produced by wunderkind producer Narada Michael Walden. My own personal favorite ballad (aside from â€˜The Greatest Love of Allâ€â€”her crowning achievement) is â€œAll at Onceâ€ which is about how a young woman realizes all at once her lover is fading away from her and itâ€™s accompanied by a gorgeous string arrangement. Even though nothing on the album sounds like filler, the only track that might come close is â€œTake Good Care of My Heart,â€ another duet with Jermaine Jackson. The problem is that it strays from the albumâ€™s jazz roots and seems too influenced by 1980s dance music.
But Whitneyâ€™s talent is restored with the overwhelming â€œThe Greatest Love of All,â€ one of the best, most powerful songs ever written about self-preservation and dignity. From the first line (Michael Masser and Linda Creed are credited as the writers) to the last, itâ€™s a state-of-the-art ballad about believing in yourself. Itâ€™s a powerful statement and one that Whitney sings with a grandeur that approaches the sublime. Its universal message crosses all boundaries and instills one with the hope that itâ€™s not too late for us to better ourselves, to act kinder. Since itâ€™s impossible in the world we live in to empathize with others, we can always empathize with ourselves. Itâ€™s an important message, crucial really, and itâ€™s beautifully stated on this album.
Her second effort, Whitney (Arista, 1987), had four number one singles, â€œI Wanna Dance with Somebody,â€ â€œSo Emotional,â€ â€œDidnâ€™t We Almost Have It All?â€ and â€œWhere Do Broken Hearts Go?â€ and was mostly produced by Narada Michael Walden and though itâ€™s not as serious an effort as Whitney Houston itâ€™s hardly a victim of Sophomore Slump. It starts off with the bouncy; danceable â€œI Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)â€ which is in the same vein as the last albumâ€™s irrepressible â€œHow Will I Know.â€ This is followed by the sensuous â€œJust the Lonely Talking Againâ€ and it reflects the serious jazz influence that permeated the first album and one can also sense a newfound artistic maturity in Whitneyâ€™s voiceâ€”she did all the vocal arrangements on this albumâ€”and this is all very evident on â€œLove Will Save the Dayâ€ which is the most ambitious song Whitneyâ€™s yet performed. It was produced by Jellybean Benitez and it pulsates with an uptempo intensity and like most of the songs on this album it reflects a grownupâ€™s awareness of the world we all live in. She sings and we believe it. This is quite a change from the softer, little-girl-lost image that was so appealing on the first album.
She projects an even more adult image on the Michael Masser-produced â€œDidnâ€™t We Almost Have It All,â€ a song about meeting up with a long-lost lover and letting him know your feelings about the past affair, and itâ€™s Whitney at her most poetic. And as on most of the ballads thereâ€™s a gorgeous string arrangement. â€œSo Emotionalâ€ is in the same vein as â€œHow Will I Knowâ€ and â€œI Wanna Dance with Somebodyâ€ but itâ€™s even more rock-influenced and, like all the songs on Whitney, played by a terrific backup studio band with Narada on drum machine, Wolter Afanasieff on the synthesizer and synth bass, Corrado Rustici on synth guitar, and someone listed as Bongo Bob on percussion programming and drum sampling. â€œWhere You Areâ€ is the only song on the album produced by Kashif and it bears his indelible imprint of professionalismâ€”it has a smooth, gleaming sound and sheen to it with a funky sax solo by Vincent Henry. It sounded like a hit single to me (but then all the songs on the album do) and I wondered why it wasnâ€™t released as one.
â€œLove Is a Contact Sportâ€ is the albumâ€™s real surpriseâ€”a big-sounding, bold, sexy number that, in terms of production, is the albumâ€™s centerpiece, and it has great lyrics along with a good beat. Itâ€™s one of my favorites. On â€œYouâ€™re Still My Manâ€ you can hear how clearly Whitneyâ€™s voice is like an instrumentâ€”a flawless, warm machine that almost overpowers the sentiment of her music, but the lyrics and the melodies are too distinctive, too strong to let any singer, even one of Whitneyâ€™s caliber, overshadow them. â€œFor the Love of Youâ€ shows off Naradaâ€™s brilliant drum programming capabilities and its jazzy modern feel harks back not only to purveyors of modern jazz like Michael Jackson and Sade but also to other artists, like Miles Davis, Paul Butterfield and Bobby McFerrin.
â€œWhere Do Broken Hearts Goâ€ is the albumâ€™s most powerful emotional statement of innocence lost and trying to regain the safety of childhood. Her voice is as lovely and controlled as it ever has been and it leads up to â€œI Know Him So Well,â€ the most moving moment on the record because itâ€™s first and foremost a duet with her mother, Cissy. Itâ€™s a ballad aboutâ€¦ who?â€”a lover shared? a long-lost father?â€”with a combination of longing, regret, determination and beauty that ends the album on a graceful, perfect note. We can expect new things from Whitney (she made a stunning gift to the 1988 Olympics with the ballad â€œOne Moment in Timeâ€) but even if we didnâ€™t, she would remain the most exciting and original black jazz voice of her generation.
Pretty amusing video on the ‘historical’ event of 1992 in the world of comics.Â Check out the star studded extras (Mandy Moore, Elijah Wood, etc)
Just spotted Vika’s Nike outfit on today’s Australian Open.
Not too sure if this is a running outfit or a tennis outfit!
Regardless of her outfit, Vika did manage to trash Briton, Heather Watson 6-1, 6-0 in 67 minutes.. and time to spare for a jog.