Whitney Houston – Whitney (1987): Review

whitney1

Produced by Narada Michael Walden, Michael Masser, Jellybean Benitez, Kashif
Label – Arista

The follow up to the multi platinum debut “Whitney Houston”, the less imaginatively titled “Whitney” entered the U.S album charts at number one and sold 10 million copies worldwide. Houston had established herself as the foremost Queen of pop, expanding the formula of polished and super produced slabs of Dance friendly contemporary tunes to a worldwide fan base. Executive producer Clive Davis pulls together all the well known producers and song writers to ensure maximum return. The calculation is transparent; the professionalism runs through like a corporate juggernaut rolling over any hapless listener who may be crossing “pop street”.

Whitney Houston in 1987

The album veers little from her debut, with clean cut, safe, up-tempo pop numbers, which probably work better than the over produced, over dramatic, schmaltzy, sickly sweet ballads. The most memorable songs are the opener and Grammy award winning “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, the excellent Jellybean produced “Love Will Save The Day”, “So Emotional” and the one sincere and decent ballad “Where Do Broken Hearts Go ?”. When the strategy wears thin, it’s frankly dreadful, particularly the Michael Masser produced pain inducer, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All” (one of the most insidious ballads this reviewer can ever remember), the limp show tune “I Know Him So Well”, and the ridiculously silly “Love Is A Contact Sport”.

One feels that given that Houston had a fine voice, why was all the soul bleached out of her tunes ? The fact is that there are some well written numbers on “Whitney”, in spite of the nauseas Production.

6/10

Track Listing
1. “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” 4:52
2. “Just the Lonely Talking Again” 5:34
3. “Love Will Save the Day” 5:25
4. “Didn’t We Almost Have It All” 5:07
5. “So Emotional” 4:37
6. “Where You Are” 4:11
7. “Love Is a Contact Sport” 4:19
8. “You’re Still My Man” 4:18
9. “For the Love of You” 5:33
10. “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” 4:38
11. “I Know Him So Well” 4:30

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