Thursday, September 03, 2009


by Dorian Davis

"Houston, we have a problem" takes on a whole new meaning after the latest Whitney album.

I Look to You - the 6th CD from Houston, who sprang onto the scene in the mid-80s, sold 200 million albums in the U.S. alone and once held the record for longest running chart topper with 1992's "I Will Always Love You" - is such a disaster not even Sully can save it.

I'd expect that from Heidi Montag.

But Whitney?

The one who pulled seven Number Ones - "How Will I Know," "Greatest Love of All," "Saving All My Love for You," "So Emotional," "Where Do Broken Hearts Go," "Didn't We Almost Have It All" and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" - off her first two CDs?

That's a hard act to follow. I know that. I made a good mix tape for a friend in college and never was able to top it.

But I Look to You is just lazy.

The "power ballad" - and I put that in quotes on purpose - "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" is alright, but needs some of the epic belting I expect from a Houston song, not just a couple of riffs. "I Look to You" - the lead single - is cliche and without production value. "Million Dollar Bill" is awful and "Like I Never Left" - a duet with Akon - offends me and Akon.

The whole CD is bad. I was so mad after I listened to it, I wished she'd dated Chris Brown. That's how bad it is.
I read a couple of good reviews, but I read 'em in Billboard. It'll give 5 stars to a blank CD.

Her producers - Clive Davis and almost a dozen other heavyweights including David Foster and R. Kelly - opted not to repackage Houston for the modern pop scene, but to keep her adult contemporary.

That was a mistake.

Mariah revived her career after Glitter, dropping her signature power ballads and taking on hipper songs.

This is no MisEducation of Mimi. This is a record that'll make Clive Davis wish he'd invested in Madoff.

Dorian Davis
is a contributor to he starred on MTV's morning show, MTV Hits, before switching to the other side of the camera to research and develop Iraq coverage for MTV News. Later, he contributed to specials for LOGO and FUSE. Now a freelance writer, Davis is published in Architectural Record, Brainwash Magazine, Business Week Online, Doublethink Online, New York Daily News, New York Republican Record and XY. He lives in NYC.

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