Remembering Whitney….

12 02 2012

As the 2012 Grammys get under way, the eyes of the world will be on those that have made 2011 another great year for music.

There will be winners and losers, there will be tears and laughter. There will be some artists that I haven’t heard of and some that I will never understand. It will be about rewards and recognition, it will probably help to shift some more units/downloads after the event.

That is why I love music. It’s all about personal taste.

But the Awards will be overshadowed by the death of Whitney Houston.

And there is no doubt that she was a talented girl who fell off the rails in spectacular fashion. There will be tributes to Whitney, some sort of musical number and a lot of people thanking her for the records she made and the inspiration she was.

I wasn’t a big fan but I know a man who was. Patrick Bateman.

There is an entire chapter dedicated to Ms Houston in American Psycho (although to be fair, there is also one about Genesis and Huey Lewis).

This is what Patrick thought about her self-titled LP…

The dance single ‘How Will I Know’ (my vote for best dance song of the 1980’s) is a joyous ode to a girl’s nervousness about whether a guy is interested in her. It’s got a great keyboard riff and it’s the only track on the album produced by wunderkind producer Narada Michael Walden. My own personal favorite ballad (aside from ‘The Greatest Love of All’ – her crowning achievement) is ‘All at Once’ which is how a young woman realizes all at once that her lover is fading away from her and it’s accompanied by a gorgeous string arrangement. Even though nothing on the album sounds like filler, the only track that might come close is ‘Take Good Care of My Heart’, another duet with Jermaine Jackson. The problem is that it strays away from the album’s jazz roots and seems too influenced by 1980’s dance music.

But Whitney’s talent is restored with the overwhelming “The Greatest Love of All’, one of the best, most powerful songs ever written about self-preservation and dignity. From the first line to the last it’s a state-of-the-art ballad about believing in yourself. It’s a powerful statement and one that Whitney approaches with a grandeur that approaches the sublime. It’s universal message crosses all boundaries and instills one with the hope that it’s not too late to better ourselves, to act kinder. Since it’s impossible in the world we live in to empathize with others, we can always empathize with ourselves. It’s an important message, crucial really, and it’s beautifully stated on this album.

I couldn’t have written this better, but then I am not a fan.

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