Whitney Houston is known for three things: her amazingly potent vocals, her rollercoaster marriage and eventual divorce with Bobby Brown, and finally, the widely-publicised drug allegations against her. Combine all these factors and add a seven year break between studio albums and it is only natural that you would be a little skeptical about the quality of a new release compared to her classics. Still, she had an eight year gap before My Love Is your Love which is some of the best music she has ever produced.
Her latest effort, I Look to You, is only Houston’s sixth studio album even though she has been a prominent force in the music industry for over two decades. during this time she has starred in at least eight movies, several of which she produced, and she has released both soundtrack and compilation albums. Houston is, not surprisingly, one of the world’s best-selling musicians, having sold over 140 million albums and 50 million singles worldwide. I Look to You confirmed she can still pull the numbers, entering the Billboard 200 at number 1, with Houston’s best opening-week sales of over 300,000 copies.
The writing credits on I Look to You are impressive. The opening number is Million Dollar Bill, which would have made a better album title. It was written and produced by the goddess herself, Alicia Keys, and Swizz Beats. I Look to You, the actual title track, and Salute were both written by R Kelly, who often slips under the radar as a writer.
Also featured are Worth It and call You Tonight, written by the slept on Johnta Austin who is definitely one you should have on your scope. unfortunately if you have already heard call You Tonight sang by Austin, Houston’s rendition falls a little short in comparison. And to top it off, predictably, there is the token appearance by, you guessed it, Akon, who not only co-writes two of the songs but collaborates vocally on one, like I never Left.
Stand-outs include the feel-good dance number Million Dollar Bill and the powerhouse ballad I Didn’t know My own Strength which we automatically associate with Houston’s struggles. Worth It and for The Lovers are sweet and light-hearted and also merit a mention. on the flip-side, the try-hardish house version of the million-times covered classic a Song for You has just won Whitney another stereotypical gay anthem, but really isn’t the best rendition.
As a whole I Look to You is solid though not ground-breaking. It doesn’t showcase Houston’s extraordinary vocal range but at this point she has nothing to prove. It seems Whitney’s probably not going anywhere just yet, even if she’s probably catering mostly to her already existing fan base. besides her noticeably over-botoxed features she is looking good, dressing conservatively yet undeniably sexy for her age and maturity. if she sticks by her ‘crack is wack’ mentality we are sure to continue to enjoy new music from Ms Houston, and hopefully sooner than in seven years time.