Saturday, September 26, 2009
After a period of time where there was much speculation of drug use, anorexia, an outlandish reality series with her then husband, and a divorce, an artist who many loved from the 80s and 90s decided to make her musical comeback. Whitney Houston released her sixth studio album I Look To You, on August 31st, which was pushed up from its original date, to most likely make the 2010 Grammy Awards deadline. I Look To You debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 selling 305,000 copies in its opening week
The emotional title track written by R. Kelly, which was initially up for free download, speaks on how someone can find someone to turn to even during their hardest struggles. “I Look To You”, is definitely a song that will remind fans of Whitney’s covered hit “I Will Always Love You.”
Whitney Houston changes up the tempo for the retro sounding first single “Million Dollar Bill,” which actually has a slight 70s disco feel to it. Written by Alicia Keys and produced by Swizz Beatz helps to give the song a modern day touch alongside classic Houston vocals. A great choice for first single “Million Dollar Bill” showcases vocals fans love from Whitney, and has a nice mellow groove, all while still being able to get people on the dance floor.
Popular singer songwriter and producer Akon, marks the only featured vocalist on the I Look To You. The title, “Like I Never Left,” will initially make fans think the song will be about Houston’s return to music, though its actually a love song; about a couple who’s trying to mend and turn things back to how their relationship was. The slight island vibe compliments Houston and Akon’s duet well. Besides “Like I Never Left” Akon also produced “I Got You,” off the album as well.
Houston does a great job of keeping her music on the album youthful yet mature. On “Nothin’ But Love,” Houston tells those who love and hate her, she “ain’t got nothin’ but love for ya.” While the dance oriented “For The Lovers,” features slick lyrics and a catchy beat; as a fierce Houston sings, “to all the haters in the place, I ain’t singing to you baby.” Both songs were produced by Nate “Danja” Hills, who’s worked with everyone from Britney Spears to Madonna.
The majority of the eleven track album is comprised of mid-tempo songs, with, Pop, R&B, and Dance influences. Aside from the title track, “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength,” is the only other belted out ballad by Whitney Houston included on the album. StarGate who’s produced hits for Rihanna and Ne-Yo locked in two of the songs on I Look To You as well. The mid-tempo love song “Call You Tonight,” blends Houston’s vocals well with the guitar influenced production from StarGate. On the second, Houston covers “A Song For You,” originally by Leon Russell. The complex song starts off as an expected ballad, but quickly shifts into a Dance Pop song, which even adds vocals from a gospel choir near its end.
Overall, Whitney Houston delivers a solid album that both new & old fans and young & older people could definitely enjoy. I Look To You maintains Houston’s poise and doesn’t simply feature her trying to fit in with new day Pop stars, but finds a unique way to still make her music young. With already good sales, necessary promotion, and the right singles, this album could allow Whitney to take over the 2010 Grammy’s and regain her prominent spot in Pop music, which she truly never left behind.