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A Lament For Whitney Houston (No, She Ain’t Dead…But Her Voice Sure Is) April 15, 2010

Posted by Skippy in Popular Culture.
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Watch this and tell me that Whitney doesn’t need to give it up, pack it in, put it to rest:

Now, back in the day, I was a huge Whitney fan. Huuuge. For me Whitney was one of the holy trinity of R&B/pop divas. Anita Baker and Janet Jackson were the other two. Actually, for a lot of people, they were the holy trinity of R&B divas. See, back in the day, before pop tartlets came a dime a dozen and used Autotune to “sing” their trite and insipid songs written by a team of crack-addled producers and had to have eleventy five “guest” appearances by Jay-Z or T-Pain on their damn album, a singer had to show that she had chops before she got the title “diva” and before people simply began referring to them by their first name. And Back In The Day, when someone said, “Oh, I’m listening to Anita” or “I just bought Janet’s new album,” no one said, “Who? Who’s that?” And usually, divas like Anita and Janet had at least one album that hadn’t received widespread attention (hello, “Dream Street” anybody?).

Further, everyone knew that this trinity was comprised of different elements. You couldn’t confuse Whitney with Anita or Anita with Janet or Janet with Whitney. Anita gave you the Quiet Storm. You didn’t buy an album of hers expecting a club banger. It just wasn’t gonna happen, and if it did, you would be confused. The world would just be wrong, because, clearly, you had not bought an Anita Baker album. Janet gave you stuff you could dance to. Yeah, she’d try to give you social consciousness songs and try to tell you to wait a while and that would get some play during the Quiet Storm on the radio, but all you wanted was to see the video for the song and what new dance moves a then-sober Paula Abdul had choreographed. We all knew Janet wasn’t going to give you a big voice–and it’s very good that she never tried.

Whitney…well, Whitney gave you good love. Oh, shut up. I had to go there. Anyway, Whitney gave you great pop songs. She could go from the Quiet Storm to “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” The Beyonce’ of her day, when Whitney sang, everybody listened. She killed it here

and here

and definitely here

Whitney Houston could make grown men cry. She made women want to be her (and lord knows I sat through many a talent show listening to some no-talent heffa stumble her sad way through a Whitney song). And the gays…well, you know how we are. We went crazy. Many of us love a Diva who will give you all that and look stunning doing it. I should’ve known I was gay as a picnic basket when I wouldn’t stop listening to Whitney Houston and when I actually argued that “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” was a good song. Really, it’s only Whitney’s vocals that pull that song up from being a mediocre dance tune. Put that song in Britney Spears’s hands and see what you get.

Fast forward to now. Now, after years of smoking crack and cigarettes, that Voice is just plain gone. There is just no denying it. It’s gone, and no amount of “time off” or working with a vocal coach is gonna bring it back. All we’re left with is this:

Indeed, Whitney. Indeed.

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