Friday, 6 April 2012

Whitney Houston - Your Love Is My Love (1998)

Released as the fourth single from the album of the same name, it peaked at no.4 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart, no.2 on the US R&B chart, and no.2 in the UK. It was later certified platinum by the RIAA.
As well as the UK, the single was extremely successful worldwide, hitting the Top Ten in nearly two dozen international markets. At over three million copies sold globally, it stands as Houston's third most successful single, after I Will Always Love You and I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me).

Written by Wyclef Jean and Jerry ‘Wonda’ Duplessis of the Fugees. Many think that I Will Always Love You is her signature, but this song now has an eerie, epitaphic feel to me, with lyrics like:

If tomorrow is judgment day
And I'm standing on the front line
And the Lord asks me what I did with my life
I will say I spent it with you


If I should die this very day
Don't cry, 'cause on Earth we weren't meant to stay

The track has a feel reminiscent of Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry; it doesn’t make me feel sad, more a reflective mood. It also proved that Whitney could do more soulful material and ironically could have been a better direction to go to help disguise the fact that her voice at that point in time was not what it once was.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Whitney Houston & Jermaine Jackson - If you say My Eyes Are Beautiful (1986)

A song not featured on a Whitney album; this track was on the 1986 Jermaine Jackson album Precious Moments. Jermaine produced all of the duets they did together, another example of Clive Davis making sure she worked with experienced talent. If you listen to all of their duets, there’s a ‘Marvin & Tammy’ dynamic going on, and it isn’t contrived; Jermaine opened up about their affair in his 2001 book You Are Not Alone: Micahel, Through A Brother's Eyes. He said he was crazy about her that she had a profound effect on his life and that she had feelings for him; Michael would tease him about it. They broke off the affair as he would not leave his wife, Hazel Gordy, the daughter of Berry Gordy.

The video to Saving All My Love For You is apparantly an angry riposte to the affair ending, features Houston singing and recording with her married music producer, and falling in love with him along the way; that was a very deliberate metaphor. The release of the track was delayed because of this when it finally came out, her publicist warned Jeramine in advance of its release because of the potential damage it might do to his marriage.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Whitney Houston feat Roy Ayers . Love Will Save The Day (1988)

The fifth single from her second multi-platinum studio album Whitney; the single was released in July 1988. Produced by John "Jellybean" Benitez, who produced and remixed for the likes of Madonna, Michael Jackson, and the Pointer Sisters, the song is one of the uptempo numbers on the album that also includes I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) and So Emotional.
At this time, Houston had achieved a record-breaking string of seven no.1 hits, with four of those coming from Whitney. Love Will Save the Day did not become Houston's eighth consecutive number one, but continued her trend of hit singles by peaking in the US Top 10. The no.9 peak on the Hot 100 was Houston's lowest solo peak up to this time. The song also made the Top 10 without an accompanying music video. Houston had stronger performances on the charts prior to this song but it did remain in the top 40 for 11 weeks, and reached no.5 on the R&B Chart.
Internationally, the song mostly saw less success except in the United Kingdom, where it went Top 10 and Switzerland, where it went Top 20. It was a moderate hit in Germany, making 37; and was a minor hit in Australia, peaking at 77.

After her sudden death, Entertainment Weekly would rank the song no20 on its list Whitney Houston: Her 25 Best Songs and stated: "Though the single broke her streak of consecutive No. 1's, the Miami bass and spicy horns on this high-BPM dance-pop workout pointed to Houston's willingness to experiment and evolve."
If the vibes on this sound familiar, they should – none other than the mighty Roy Ayers performs them. I’ve no idea if Whitney and Ayers actually ever met, but could you imagine the two collaborating on an album?
Alas, we’ll never know.

There were lots of remixes back in the day (most notably by Jellybean himself), but I've chosen a more recent mix by Greek DJ John O. Valavanis, AKA Discobody on Soundcloud; sounds vewry 'period' and has some nice sample from other Whitney songs of the era.