Whitney Houston R.I.P.

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Not all messages are displayed: show all messages (469 of them)

Did she sing about "grown-up emotions"? I never thought she did, even at her best ("Exhale" is an exception, maybe). She sang from the point of view of a blinkered sixteen-year-old.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 12 February 2012 19:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

the "let us not forget that mariah took whitney down with the achilles heel of hip-hop" part made me think of maura's rule no. 3: Are you comparing the artist you're writing about to other female artists only? If so, why?

da croupier, Sunday, 12 February 2012 19:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

seriousness and carefulness more than grown-upness (and ha, obv those are the hallmarks of the kind of teenager who wants to be more mature than they are) (kind of opposite to mariah's whole "eternally 12" thing)

must not let myself read any of these pieces til i've finished mine

first period don't give a fuck, second period gon get cut (lex pretend), Sunday, 12 February 2012 19:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

What's the difference between a star and legend? A "legend" in this context is a showbiz word.

Ok, how about genius? Or one of the greatest artists of the modern era? My point is, she never actually transcended the business. She was basically a creation of it.

But it's a waste of time to pine for a purer Whitney who could have kept working with Bill Laswell.

Honestly, that's a terrifying thought. For me, the bigger issue is that she never hooked up with particularly good songwriters or producers. Where Dionne, Dusty and Thelma hooked up with Bacharach/Stax/Gamble & Huff and Britney, Beyonce and Mariah have been square in the middle of the R&B producer-ama of the last decade, Whitney hooked up with...Clive Davis. Which pretty much tells you all you need to know about her, her interests and her career (and in fairness, her era).

Naive Teen Idol, Sunday, 12 February 2012 19:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

XXP - Considering Mariah was marketed as the next Whitney, and that's effectively what she became, I think it's an entirely appropriate comparison.

wolf cola, everyone (thewufs), Sunday, 12 February 2012 19:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

whitney also hooked up w/rodney jerkins, babyface, missy elliott, danja, swizz beatz and tricky stewart

first period don't give a fuck, second period gon get cut (lex pretend), Sunday, 12 February 2012 19:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

For me, the bigger issue is that she never hooked up with particularly good songwriters or producers

Babyface? Rodney Jerkins? Annie Lennox? Narada Michael Walden?

I'll grant you Michael Masser.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 12 February 2012 19:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

i mean the reason she wasn't in the middle of the producerama you speak of is that for many of those years she wasn't recording music at all

first period don't give a fuck, second period gon get cut (lex pretend), Sunday, 12 February 2012 19:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

Michael Masser wrote "Touch Me in the Morning!"

timellison, Sunday, 12 February 2012 19:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

I get the logic of comparing Whitney to Mariah, but not the logic of playing "TS: Mariah Carey vs. Whitney Houston" in her obit. I like the Rich's piece (while acknoweldging Clive's paternalism) let's Whitney own her victories and failings, rather than making the thinkpiece about us.

da croupier, Sunday, 12 February 2012 19:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

I like that Rich's piece lets, rather

da croupier, Sunday, 12 February 2012 19:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

Seriously bill laswell mostly sucks guys, he's done way worse than whitneys worst song...are people really mourning some shitty, thinly produced theoretical funk/fusion record she might have made with him? Oh no!!

dave coolier (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

Narada Michael Walden was a very good drummer. I think my broader point is that I just never got the sense that Whitney cared all that much about what she sang or who she worked with. And I can't really think of another *great* singer I could say that about.

Naive Teen Idol, Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

XP Crouper: Yeah, good article. One thing Rich got wrong, tho: Whitney's death isn't going to overshadow the Grammys. Instead, it'll be the biggest ratings boost the show has ever had. It never ceases to amaze me, the, well, "awesome and gross" drawing power of celebrities dying. Perfect timing, huh?

wolf cola, everyone (thewufs), Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

god damn bobby brown for laying his crack dusted fingers on her

RudolfHitlerFtw (Hungry4Ass), Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

"Croupier", rather

wolf cola, everyone (thewufs), Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

think my broader point is that I just never got the sense that Whitney cared all that much about what she sang or who she worked with

haha -- dude the competition is thick in this category! Ray Charles comes immediately to mind. Lady Dionne too.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

i thought whitney made some pretty bitchen music. it never occurred to me that she was some kind of schlockmeister. 'i will always love you' still gives me chills, who cares if its not subtle or tasteful. since when does ILM care about that crap!!

RudolfHitlerFtw (Hungry4Ass), Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

Whitney's death isn't going to overshadow the Grammys. Instead, it'll be the biggest ratings boost the show has ever had.

i think he means the whitney tribute will overshadow the Adele-fest or the resurrection of chris brown, not that ratings will go down.

da croupier, Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:07 (2 years ago) Permalink

i was actually thinking about whitney last week, & was contrasting her with mariah and how mariah's kept her nose to the grind to maintain her empire, while whitney sadly stopped caring about her career. that contract she signed more than 10 years ago, the deal that toppled arista, what a disaster! lets kill boby brown yall

RudolfHitlerFtw (Hungry4Ass), Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

I don't know much about Whitney Houston's whole personal thing but I never assume anybody's decision to abandon public life is necessarily a sad one

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

m@tt so otm about laswell; this is the last place i expected to read ppl pining for that stuff tbh

call all destroyer, Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

can you abandon public life while being a reality TV superstar

RudolfHitlerFtw (Hungry4Ass), Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

Well you know what I mean

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

RudolfHitlerFtw (Hungry4Ass), Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

xpost Yeah, Laswell had already found a much better voice for his purposes in Nona Hendryx.

Whitney would have been better, I think, born later, had she come of age alongside the likes of Mariah, let alone Mary J. Blige, two singers much better in tune with the pop music tenor of their times. Whitney was too young to hit R&B/soul's heyday, too old to work well in the hip-hop era. She may have thrived in a Celine Dion mode, but rather than ease into that role she retreated into de facto retirement numbness.

Perhaps this explains why folks only seemed half-heartedly hoping for a comeback, knowing that the Whitney we got wouldn't be much better than the divas we already had and didn't really want.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

God, Bobby Brown is like one part Ike Turner, one part Flava Flav.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

Osama kept coming back to Whitney Houston. He asked if I knew her personally when I lived in America. I told him I didn't. He said that he had a paramount desire for Whitney Houston, and although he claimed music was evil, he spoke of someday spending vast amounts of money to go to America and try to arrange a meeting with the superstar. It didn't seem impossible to me. He said he wanted to give Whitney Houston a mansion that he owned in a suburb of Khartoum. He explained to me that to possess Whitney he would be willing to break his color rule and make her one of his wives. I tried to hide my outrage at his racist remarks, but it would come to pass that for the entire time that I would be trapped in his palm, Whitney Houston's was the one name that would be mentioned constantly. How beautiful she is, what a nice smile she has, how truly Islamic she is but is just brainwashed by American culture and her husband—Bobby Brown, whom Osama talked about having killed, as if it were normal to have women's husbands killed. In his briefcase I would come across photographs of the star, as well as copies of Playboy, but nobody in the West believes me when I tell them this. It's like they have this totally bogus image of Osama bin Laden. Anyway, it would soon come to the point where I was sick of hearing Whitney Houston's name.

omar little, Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:39 (2 years ago) Permalink

^^^boof boof ridin

mark s, Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

Meanwhile, Houston's daughter Bobbi has been taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 February 2012 21:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

Only things wrong with "Memories": Shepp, struggling with his lip for years, overplays the very first note of his solo, a little "ethereal" breathiness/brain fart, but then redeems himself (thing of no wrong notes if you can come up with the right context); also, do we really need kitchen percussion to show how real this is? But the song, the singer the feeling merge perfectly. Also, some stuff in here I didn't know:
JOINT STATEMENT FROM KENNETH GAMBLE & LEON HUFF, LEGENDARY ‘SOUND OF PHILADELPHIA’ PRODUCERS AND PIONEERS, ON THE DEATH OF WHITNEY HOUSTON

GAMBLE & HUFF WROTE AND PRODUCED HITS WITH THE LATE LINDA CREED,
WHO LATER WROTE HOUSTON’S #1 SMASH, ‘GREATEST LOVE OF ALL.’

“Whitney Houston was an unbelievable talent and one of the greatest voices of all time. Her passing is a tremendous shock and a terrible shame. She had a rough life and was under so much pressure as an artist, because she meant so much to the music community. She was one of the most admired singers ever, who was loved by everybody. We’re praying for her family.”

Gamble & Huff also recalled Ms. Houston’s strong Philly connection:
- A then-unknown Whitney Houston recorded “Hold Me,” a duet with Gamble & Huff recording artist Teddy Pendergrass for his 1984 Elektra album, “Love Language,” his first following the automobile accident that left him paralyzed.

- Gamble & Huff wrote and produced a number of hits with the late Linda Creed, who later wrote Houston’s #1 Smash, “Greatest Love of All.” They first met Houston in Philadelphia at a memorial for Creed, following her death from breast cancer, recalling that Houston “looked like a model and had so much going for her” when they went to her dressing room. They also recalled seeing Houston for the last time at Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party in 2008.

- Gamble & Huff’s relationship with the Houston family began in the late ‘60s when they worked with the R&B act the Sweet Inspirations, founded by Cissy Houston. A Gamble & Huff composition, "Gotta Find Me A Brand New Lover" appeared on the group’s fifth album (Sweet Sweet Soul) in 1969, and “whenever Cissy couldn’t find a baby sitter, she’d bring Whitney to our studio in Philly. Cissy always used to talk about her daughter when we were recording with her, and what a great talent she was going to be.”

dow, Sunday, 12 February 2012 21:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

Only things wrong with "Memories": Shepp, struggling with his lip for years, overplays the very first note of his solo

I wondered about this! I agree. At any rate it's too loud for a few seconds.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 12 February 2012 21:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

Kind of a "Hahhh", quietly overwrought stage whisper--not just the lip, maybe also the perils of what the young Shepp mocked as "my Stan Getz shit", talking to Leroi Jones. But when they were on it, Getz and Shepp made a lot of good records fueled by that shit (among other things).

dow, Sunday, 12 February 2012 21:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

i hope this isn't too soon. but maybe a wee bit of light relief and its not as if its spiteful.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

Only things wrong with "Memories": Shepp, struggling with his lip for years, overplays the very first note of his solo

This didn't particularly stick out for me. It sounds like what I assumed Archie Shepp sounded like in the 80s (I've only heard his early '60s recordings).

Let A Man Come In And Do The Cop Porn (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Monday, 13 February 2012 00:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

One thing I often think of w/r/t Whitney (and this before recent events) is not a performance by her per se but rather all the Whitney cover versions I've seen on shows like Idol by aspiring divas.

Doubtless many would assume that these are all awful but at least two spring to mind as quite amazing, both being covers of "I Have Nothing" - Jennifer Hudson on US Idol and Rickie-Lee Coulter on Australian Idol (perhaps the only time Rickie-Lee actually lived up to her promise).

These performances are always tributes to Whitney first and foremost, the contender trying to step into the biggest shoes possible and not lose her feet in them. There really is a sense of the big Whitney ballads as the gold standard for powerhouse emoting.
If anything, the more exposed to that idea I am the more I feel comfortable with it; and concomitantly can't really vibe with the idea of Whitney having wasted her talent or career (except in the more prosaic sense that she could have put out more music) - as good as My Love Is Your Love is (and it's my favourite Whitney album) I'm not sure that her legacy would be greater if she'd adopted some kind of grittier template throughout.

(someone could do a bitchin cover of "Run To You" as well, I suspect; sensibly people only seem to do "The Greatest Love Of All" in the failed auditions the shows play for lols, and I think either network producers or otherwise God has enough sense to prevent any performances of "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" from ever being broadcast)

Tim F, Monday, 13 February 2012 01:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

i think most have now accepted GLoA as kitsch, largely b/c of the lyrics.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Monday, 13 February 2012 06:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

I passed myself off as knowing all about Whitney albums just then but in truth I haven't heard I'm Your Baby Tonight past the singles - hot or not?

Tim F, Monday, 13 February 2012 06:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

My awareness of Whitney Houston's music pretty much cuts off somewhere around her big 90s soundtrack albums. I'd known she had her dalliances, but I had no idea that she was struggling so much & for so long w/ addiction - so this is pretty shocking to me.

I also didn't know about her early collaborations before now & some of those tracks posted upthread are pretty dope! There are about four or five of her early singles that have insane vox & hooks & which, after hearing, I will invariably have stuck on repeat in my brain for hours, days even.

RIP

Jurgis Rudkus // Dick Butkus (Pillbox), Monday, 13 February 2012 10:07 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm really sad about this which is sort of weird because while I definitely liked some of her music, it's not like I was ever an enormous fan. That said, sside from the early dance pop stuff I mentioned a couple days agom IWALY can give me chills and make me tear up any time I hear it. She just had such a powerful voice. They were talking about it the whole thing on the news this morning and it bummed me out a lot more than I would have expected.

wolf kabob (ENBB), Monday, 13 February 2012 14:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

I haven't posted anything on this thread, because I wasn't much of a fan. I played "How Will I Know" for student-entry music this morning, though, and that was nice--it's the one song of hers I always liked--and then in my own class I played the Super Bowl performance off YouTube. It's the kind of thing I normally wouldn't care for (I was at teachers college at the time, and had pretty much tuned out the first Iraq War altogether), but this morning, it did feel historic. Not as historic or as audacious as Hendrix, maybe not even as good as Marvin Gaye's rendition, but in the ballpark.

clemenza, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

wait, "student entry music" -- like entry to your classroom or over the speakers in the whole school?

Laura Lucy Lynn (La Lechera), Monday, 13 February 2012 15:22 (2 years ago) Permalink

The only songs my son's school seems to own are "Dynamite" (Cruz, not Lattisaw) and "Who Let the Dogs Out."

Andy K, Monday, 13 February 2012 15:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

your son's school OTM

J0rdan S., Monday, 13 February 2012 15:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

I put my hands up in the (who? who, who?)

I spend a lot of time thinking about apricots (DJP), Monday, 13 February 2012 15:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

The graduation theme for my class at an all-boy Catholic school: "Promise of a New Day."

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 13 February 2012 15:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

ha

I spend a lot of time thinking about apricots (DJP), Monday, 13 February 2012 15:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

a serious wtf moment. That's where everything went wrong.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 13 February 2012 15:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

we had to listen to the radio over the loudspeakers between classes and i remember when it went from top 40 to "alternative" in 1991 or 1992 (not entirely sure when it happened, tbh) and they played "it's the end of the world as we know it" for 24 hours straight. that day was SO WEIRD.

my point above was that if you can choose the music they listen to between classes, that is a lot of memory-creating power!

Laura Lucy Lynn (La Lechera), Monday, 13 February 2012 15:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

anyway, whitney houston owned memory-creating power in gradeschool right up there with mj and prince
i thought everyone had to sing "the greatest love of all" at some point in school. i remember being pretty mortified by having to sing it, at least.

Laura Lucy Lynn (La Lechera), Monday, 13 February 2012 15:35 (2 years ago) Permalink


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.