Whitney Houston Returns: Diva Debuts “I Look to You” in New York

July 22nd, 2009 by Sean Fennessey Leave a reply »

Photo: Mazur/WireImage
It looked like the ’90s. It felt like the ’90s. It even sort of smelled like the rich and thriving ’90s. And for one brief evening it was, as J/RCA Records celebrated the return of their crown jewel, Whitney Houston. And they did it in style. At a lavish, star-studded listening event legendary record man Clive Davis, Chief Creative Officer of Sony Entertainment Worldwide presented nine tracks from Houston’s new album, I Look To You, to a crowd of nearly 500 at the Allen Room in midtown Manhattan’s Time Warner Center.

It has been seven years since Houston released a studio album, 2002’s Just Whitney. In that time she’s faced some daunting personal struggles, including allegations about drug use, some shockingly candid appearances on her then-husband’s Bravo reality show, Being Bobby Brown, and a 2007 divorce from Brown. Rumors have also been floated that her historically powerful singing voice has begun to fade. Hearing I Look To You, a modern-sounding and crisply produced comeback, should prove any doubters wrong. Whitney’s voice is as soaring and capable of gliding power as it was 25 years ago when Davis first began work with the singer.

Standing behind a podium on a stage decorated only with a chair to sit in as the music played, Davis discussed I Look To You’s long journey. “We’ve been working for three years,” he said. “You have to wait for great songs to show up. I understand this is an artificial setting. But this is what we’ve done.”

The night’s first song was also its feistiest. Written and produced by new industry power couple Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz, “Million Dollar Bill” is a clattering, uptempo hip-hop-inspired number. It may be the fastest ever for Houston, who keeps up nicely, even if it occasionally sou...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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