Tuesday, November 27, 2007

No. 254: Whitney Houston


Band: Whitney Houston
Album: Whitney Houston
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: There's nary a female R&B singer who doesn't channel Whitney Houston's vocal style at some point. As all the Akons of the world want to be Michael Jackson, all the Rihannas of the world want to be Whitney Houston.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: Come on, now. Whitney Houston? Outside of Huey Lewis, is there a better picture of 1980s pop nonsense?
Best song: "How Will I Know" is fun.
Worst song: Honestly, until convinces me that "The Greatest Love of All" is about masturbation (I don't think it is), I hate it.
Is it awesome?: Nope.

Before I got Netflix (a few months ago), I never saw many movies. In fact, the movies I've seen the most are likely anything that played on Comedy Central in the afternoon when I was in late high school and college. Basically, any cheesy late-'80s/early-'90s comedy is something I know. "Soul Man," "Back To School," "Men At Work," etc.

Most of those movies are terrible. "PCU" (not from the same time period, but was on a lot) has its draws, but that's the type of movie we're talking about. Anyway, the Eddie Murphy classic "Coming To America" was one of those movies and, by far, the best Comedy Central movie ever. Even when censored for basic cable, it makes me fall down laughing.

What does it have to do with Whitney Houston's first album? Well...



(You need to get about two and a half minutes into it for Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate's version of "The Greatest Love Of All," but it's worth it.)

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Accolades for this album:
  • The best-selling debut album (13 million copies. Seriously.) for a female artist until Britney Spears' first record.

  • Six singles were released from the album, and three hit no. 1.

  • The album stayed on the Billboard 200 chart for over three years (162 weeks).


Someone likes Whitney Houston.

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From a draft of the film adaptation of Bret Eason Ellis' satire of 1980s violent American consumer culture, "American Psycho":

It's hard to choose a favorite track among so many great ones, but "The Greatest Love of All" is one of the best, most powerful songs ever written about self-preservation and dignity. 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, Elizabeth, 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 the album.


For anyone familiar with the movie or book, the character of Patrick Bateman (the protagonist) is empty inside and his proclamations of his love for, mostly, synthetic and mindless pop music reflects the emptiness of the greed culture of the 1980s. That Ellis chooses Whitney Houston to be the picture of 1980s music is fun, but she sold a lot of records.

EditHere's the scene:

2 comments:

Justin said...

Even if her life hadn't turned into a punchline (Bobby Brown? Crack is whack?), this album's appearance on the list would still be a joke. Shame on you, Rolling Stone.

kellydwyer said...

Every time I've pulled that point/stare/walk off move that Eddie/Randy works at the end of his rendition (not sure if it's on the YouTube clip) over the last three years, it has yet to be met with a laugh.

I don't know if that has more to do with me moving to Indiana three years ago, or my execution of the move; but I'm safe in assuming the former has a bit more to do with it.