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When I heard that Whitney Houston would release a new album, I was very curious. Would it be innovative? Are there the well-known ballads?
It is the seventh studio album Whitney Houston released. Producers who worked on the album include Clive Davis, Alicia Keys, Akon, David Foster and R. Kelly. This is easy to hear back on the CD. This album fits perfectly 'modern R & B, " with even a few dance tracks, but also some ballads that Whitney Houston has become known for. The single "I Look to You" was the first single from the album that launched and reached the top and 20 on the Billboard R & B / Hip-Hop Songs.
Million Dollar Bill
This song really sound like it was made in the seventies. A nice old disco / soul sound is the basis for this track. The song was produced by Alicia Keys and rapper Kaseem "Swizz Beatz" Dean where samples were used by the singer Loleatta Holloway's. The text was written by Alicia Keys, Kassem Dean and Norman Harris. 'Million Dollar Bill "begins with an old disco beat. Whitney falls in with a swipe of her more often we have heard. After a fill-in starts the track really, where you hear real soul in the voice of Whitney Houston. This is the base of the drums and bass and keyboards supplemented by a guitar. The track sounds cheerful and has a real dance-sing a song because the chorus really catchy. Nice fill-ins and provide breaks for a change in this issue.
Nothin' But Love
This track is of a different caliber. "Nothin 'But Love" can be put in the category' Dance'. The song was produced by R & B and hip-hop producer Nathaniel "Danja" Hills and Fernando Garibay. The text was written by Frann Golde, Fernando Garibay and Kasia Livingston. It starts with the melody of a Juno synth that dance / trance touch. After the intro beat is the quiet, dry bass drum then you hear on every second beat of the bar and a Handclap run in the background with the hi-hat. When Whitney Houston sings normally it sounds just fine, as we used to. But when they go down with her voice, I find this frankly less. What strikes me is that only the bassline begins in the chorus. This sounds nice and heavy. After the chorus, everything falls away and the whole is rebuilt to a climax. Another downside to this number, I think Whitney's voice occasionally sounds a bit silly by a particular filter I think. Do not know why they did this, but her voice is not really clear. For the rest it is a very nice song!
I Look To You
"I Look To You" is the first song on the CD which is that real Whitney Houston ballad, I think. This track was also released as a single. The song was written by R. Kelly and produced by Harvey Mason Jr.., Emanuel Kiriakou and Tricky Stewart. It starts with just a quiet piano and some strings in the background. When Whitney Houston begins to sing, you know immediately why Whitney Houston has become known, through her powerful voice. After the first verse and chorus is the drums. It's an emotional song which little are of this new album. You can for example compare this track 'I Will Always Love You "that was a very big hit. Main instruments used are piano, strings, violins, drums and bass. The song ends as it began .. Only Whitney Houston singing in the style with which she has become known, and a piano that accompanies her. The last thing you hear are the words "I look to you '...
I think it's a good CD with songs you can put into several categories. Examples of well-known ballads are "I Look to You" and "I Did not Know My Strength". The album has more dance numbers than I had expected from Whitney, including "Nothin 'But Love," "A Song For You' and 'For The Lovers". The real R & B / Urban tracks are "Like I Never Left", "Worth It" and "I Got You". The only song I really thought was soul / disco-tinged is "Million Dollar Bill". The rest of the tracks are a bit of a mix of ballad, urban and dance. Not really one to categorize. The sound of the CD is of course just fine. Cannot be otherwise expect from a top artist like Whitney Houston. I find it good CD that I also give 4 stars!
I Look To You is the most recent album from Whitney Houston, which was released in the United Kingdom, back in 2009. The album is currently available to buy from Amazon for a price of £6.20.
* Tracklist *
1)Million Dollar Bill 2)Nothin But Love 3)Call You Tonight 4)I Look To You
5)Like I Never Left 6) A Song For You 7)I Didn't Know My Own Strength
8)Worth It 9)For The Lovers 10)I Got You 11) Salute
I used to like Whitney Houston's greatest hits album, which I used to borrow all the time off my sister. Whenever I think of 'Whitney', I instantly think of 'I Will Always Love You', as I think that is probably the 'earliest' hit of hers I can actually remember at the time of release. I don't really know much about 'Whitney the person' , although I did think that she was very crazy after seeing her on The X Factor last year and thought that she was very weird. However, I do love her music and so when I heard that she had new album out I was interested.
I like the fact that there is a good mix of songs on here ; ballads as well as up-tempo tracks, which means that there are songs to suit every mood and every person. I particularly like the ballads especially 'I Look To You'. I am not too keen on the song 'Million Dollar Bill' which was the album's lead single; there are much better songs on here which could have been released. It did take a bit of time for the songs to grow on me, although after a few listens, I was quite happy with the album.
It's clear that her voice has changed (and apparently has gone, if you judge by the fan videos of her recent tour - it was even on the news how terrivle she was live) e since the last album, which was seven years ago. Her voice definately sounds more mature and deeper.I like the fact that Whitney really performs the songs ; she really connects with the listener and you really believe what she is singing.
This album is typical Whitney, although it hasn't really moved with the times. It does have a slight 'old fashioned' (not very old fashioned - but behind by about 10 years which is a lot in 'music-time'. Although ,having said that, if her sound had changed to accommodate the 'latest styles' the it wouldn't really be the Whitney that we all know and love, and so in a way, it's kind of good that she's kept it like she use to be.
I did enjoy this album although I think that this is definately more for Whitney fans than non-fans, although new fans might be interested once they have had a listen! I am happy that Whitney has a new album out, because I am always singing Whitney songs in singing competitions, and so it's great that there are some new Whitney songs!
Thanks for reading!
October 17th 2010
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted on ciao under xdonzx)
'If the voice is a musical instrument', Time magazine once said, 'here is a Stradivarius.' The only person this could ever be referring to is of course, Whitney Houston. Perhaps the greatest voice of our time, this is the woman responsible for over 170 Million record sales throughout the 80s and 90s. However, her ethereal talent was only ever matched by her all too human personal life. Record sales dwindled as she battled drug addiction and fought against her husband, Bobby Brown, a man who both slapped and spat on his wife. Taking time out to separate from her husband and clean herself up, Whitney had plans to retire to an island home and hang up her microphone for good. However, it was legendary music mogul, Clive Davis (who has produced recent albums for Carrie Underwood, Alicia Keys and Leona Lewis to name but a few) who convinced her to return to the music industry.
"I Look to You" took over 2.5 years to make, and features such a roster of huge-named writers and producers that cuts by will.I.am, Ne-Yo and Timbaland had to be left off. The album was designed to pick up where Whitney and Clive's last full-length album finished off - My Love is Your Love. So in that sense, it is a modern R'n'B album. However, the latter appears to be leaning far more towards Whitney's pop and dance roots than the former. With an overarching theme of triumph and perseverance, I Look to You manages to do the impossible - serve up a themed album which never seems contrived or repetitive.
The album opens up with the Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys-penned feel-good jam, 'Million Dollar Bill'. Already a massive hit in the UK, it has a fantastic throwback sound to the 70s, which is very reminiscent of Michael Jackson's Off the Wall record. The song manages to sound retro, as opposed to dated, which is at times difficult to do. The lyrics speak of the joy of finding a new love and has an anthemic, sing-along chorus of "If he makes you feel like a Million Dollar Bill, say - oh, oh!". Not like anything Whitney has done before, not like anything on the radio now - it is a fantastic and unique track. However, it could be argued that the Freemasons Remix is superior, as the album version seems a little too stripped back to be played in a club.
"There's been haters since this world's been goin' round" declares Whitney on track number two - 'Nothin' but Love'. It is in short - an acknowledgement of all that Whitney has been through, but as opposed to being defiant and confrontation (as many of the songs on 2002's Just Whitney were), Whitney seems accepting and at peace. Produced by Danja, there is a bouncy feel to this song and is another feel-good song. It has great rhythm to it, and the chorus is irresistibly catchy. It is my favourite cut on the album.
The tempo slows for the third track, the Stargate-Produced 'Call You Tonight' which sounds like it could've been sung by Ne-Yo. The tones and intonation in Whitney's voice in the song are flawless, it reminds you really of why she is called "the voice". She is restrained in the song but if she was belting every line, it may have eroded some of the meaning. It is crying out to be a single and the lyrics are beautiful - "I can't catch my breath, 'cause you take it away". It is so contemporary, so current but yet fits Whitney so well.
The title track is one of only two ballads on the album. Written by R.Kelly, the lyrics tell of Whitney's struggle and how she survived her darkest hour. While it is never explicit, one can assume that the song is about God. With a stripped back production, the piano driven ballad reaches a beautiful climax but is never at all cheesy. While Whitney's vocals are evidently not as pristine as they were in her Bodyguard days, the song showcases her as still having one of the best voices in music. The tone and emotion in her voice mean that she is not just singing the ballad, but tearing it from her soul.
The only guest-vocal on the album is surprisingly s collaboration with Akon. 'Like I Never Left' has an island-feel to it, and is a mid-tempo cut. Whitney and Akon's vocals sound surprisingly good together, and the song is a definite grower. Having listened to the leaked version almost two years ago, understandably, the song doesn't sound particularly fresh to me. However, the bridge was re-recorded for the album and has a really amazing vocal moment from Whitney.
'A Song for You' is another Stargate-produced song, however, this is perhaps one of the most creative I have heard in a long time. Beginning with the tinkling of piano, this classic song has been covered countless times before, and warily, I assumed that Whitney would not bring much to it that hasn't already been done. Strong, powerful vocals drive the first verse and it's a good rendition, but nothing special. Then suddenly after the first chorus, a dance beat kicks in and the song becomes a full-on dance anthem. It takes you back to the days of 'How Will I Know' and 'I Wanna Dance with Somebody', it's shameless fun and a great up-tempo song.
'I Didn't Know My Strength' serves as the centre-piece for the album and is a ballad which has polarised opinions. The syrupy ballad features every cliché imaginable about overcoming struggle and the David Foster production (producer of I Will Always Love You, I Have Nothing etc.) is both pleasant and unremarkable. The song on first listen, is a disappointment, however, it clicked with me after I saw Whitney's phenomenal rendition of it on Oprah. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1LS-Se-XS4 The song is enjoyable but unless you really connect with the lyrics, I feel it is difficult to fully appreciate it.
Fan-favourite and surprise standout track, 'Worth It' seems to be Whitney having a Mary J Blige moment. It sounds a lot like Mary's Be Without You, in that it is an absolute sing along anthem for anyone who knows what it is like to be in love - "This is for the lovers holding hands in the car/this is for the lovers, no matter where you are". Whitney's voice sounds incredible on this R'n'B track that really shows off her range and power in some of the adlibs towards the end.
'For the Lovers' will definitely appeal to the European market. It's a dance song (produced by Danja) and literally commands you to the dance floor. Much like the song preceding it, it is an absolute sing-along anthem with lyrics such as 'Now throw your hands up/For the next three minutes, it's a call for lovers'. It is a little overproduced, so Whitney's voice doesn't stand-out particularly well in the song, but its great fun.
The second Akon produced track is titled 'I Got You' and is epic in every sense of the word. Crashing percussion and dramatic strings, this song reminds me so much of Whitney's 'My Love is Your Love' in terms of the lyrics which speak of an undying, unfading love. The chorus has Whitney's voice belting just as it was doing 20 years ago, and it's accompanied by some phenomenal backing vocals that just add to the atmosphere. Much like 'Worth It', it's a fan favourite and one of the best on the album.
The final track has a darker edge to it, written by R.Kelly, it's simply entitled 'Salute'. Laced with crisp percussion and a dark feel to it, the song reminds me of Whitney's 1998 break-up anthem 'It's Not Right but It's Okay'. Her voice in the song sounds so intense, so passionate and angry - there's no question who she is singing it to. At times there is almost a militaristic feel to the song (Whitney even refers to herself as a soldier girl) and it really does show a different side to Whitney: "You think you know everything/and you think that sh*t don't stink" she declares. This is the ultimate kiss-off song and a fantastic way to end the album, giving it some much needed-edge.
"Don't Call it a comeback... I've been here for years... through all the drama and the pain, and through all the tears" Whitney sings on the final track, and she most certainly is right. 'I Look to You' is what 'The Emancipation of Mimi' was to Mariah. A fantastic album that perfectly blends contemporary, radio-friendly hits with the classic sound and lyrical content that made her a star in the first place. Whitney's voice has changed - there's no denying it. It's not as crystal clear as it once was but instead there is a richer, deeper tone to it. For me, Whitney has never sounded more emotional on an album. While I am a huge fan, it is not right to dismiss my review as biased - in fact, Whitney's fans are her toughest critics. So believe me when I say, this is not only one of the best albums of the year but of the decade.
NOTE: This review is also posted on Havenforum.co.uk
Whitney Houston has had her fair share of problems in the last few years what with her drug problems and her strained marriage with Bobby Brown. As much as a fan of Whitney Houston as I am I have to admit I was unsure whether she could come back and continue on from her most recent albums. This is her first album in 7 years and there aren't too many bands or solo stars who have come back from that kind of break and had the same artistic value in their music. So does Whitney's comeback seem destined for the bargain bin or could she just come back.
**I Look To You**
Released on 19th October 2009 and is the seventh studio album from Whitney Houston. The album features production credits from Alicia Keys, Stargate, Akon, R Kelly and David Foster amongst others. Whitney also teams up with Clive Davis as an executive producer. "I Look to you" features 11 songs led by the singles "I Look to you" and the Alicia Keys penned and produced "Million Dollar Bill" as well as a cover of "A song for you".
1 Million Dollar Bill
2 Nothin' But Love
3 Call You Tonight
4 I Look To You
5 Like I Never Left Feat. Akon
6 A Song For You
7 I Didn't Know My Own Strength
8 Worth It
9 For The Lovers
10 I Got You
"Million Dollar Bill"
Whitney gets the album underway with this catchy single , which mixes a funky 70's bass hook with her late 80's dance stuff. This is a very decent opening, This track features a sample of Loleatta Holloway's "We're Getting Stronger".
"Nothin' But Love"
This track continues the dance tinged opening with another one with a dance feel. This track features an interesting vocal tone change thanks to a light vocoder part. This is another very flowing track which has a catchy beat. Good track.
"Call You Tonight"
This is an interesting track with a mid tempo feel and catchy beat with some nice gentle guitar and keys. This track is about making time to call your partner. This is a catchy track but lacks a little spark compared to the best tracks on here. It's a decent enough track though.
"I Call to You"
This is a great title track which harks back to some of her best ballads, As soon as this track opens I stopped and just listened. This is a brilliant track about someone helping you overcome things and be there for you. This is up there with some of her best ballads as shows without a doubt that her voice is still there in all it's glory. This is another fantastic ballad R Kelly has come up with for another huge artist.
"Like I Never Left" ft Akon
This is a very catchy track featuring Akon which has a simple yet effective beat and some nice backing vocals with gentle keys and this is a very impressive track with Akon proving he can actually sing when he wants to and stops doing that strange thing he does. Good stuff.
"A Song for you"
The Donny Hathaway version of this song is in my opinion one of the greatest songs of all time. This version opens with the same awesome piano part and then Whitney's vocal comes in. She really shows she still has the power to belt out the words. This is a great version which builds beautifully and then unexpectedly the dance beat comes.
"I Didn't Know my own strength"
No this isnt about opening a jar or something like that but about her fight against drug addiction and her marriage problems. This is an inspiring ballad about the ability to bounce back from your problems. The music is perfect for this ballad and this is a fantastic track which showcases the purity of her vocals. This is yet another incredible Dianne Warren penned track.
This is a catchy track which has a similar sound to her previous work on her last two albums. The heavy beat and keys works well with the string backing. Whitney's vocals are laid back and the female backing vocals add another nice touch. This is a very strong track about the things you get out of a good relationship.
"For the lovers"
This is a funky track which sounds like a remix. The punchy beat is backed by a Michael Jackson like melody with the funky hooks blending superbly with the beat. This is a very strong up tempo track which is one of the best up tempo tracks on the album. A great club track.
"I Got You"
This opens with a strange sound which works rather well, Whitney's vocals come in and then you hear "Konvict" which is Akon's signature and then the song develops into a very flowing mid tempo ballad with a great beat and some very strong vocals from Whitney. This is an impressive track.
This closes the album with an R Kelly penned track which has his usual dark orchestral part and also a different beat and some catchy drum loops . This is a strong closer which is about showing someone you are better off without them after your relationship broke up. Great track.
I had my reservations after so long out and so many troubles but I have to say Whitney Houston has come back with a very strong album with a couple of signature ballads and her powerful vocals still intact. This albums was made with an all star cast and is a really polished effort which could see Whitney Houston back where she belongs. She may have been away for seven years but she has finally released a new album which could lead to another chapter in the career of Whitney Houston.
The return of "The Voice"
The album is out and my verdict is in.
The new Whitney Houston album, I Look to You is not released until the middle of October in England but I managed to get an advanced copy from Amazon Guernsey via my husband who is also a big Whitney fan as we could just not wait to hear it. It was officially released in the US in September and already went to number 1 of US top albums. According to her website, 304,801 units were sold within the first week of release in the US, which marks Whitney's biggest first week sales of her career and the best selling first week by a female artist this year. It was much anticipated and I can see why!
She has been through a much publicised drug battle and divorce and appears to have come out of the other end stronger. What I like about her comeback and this album is that she has not been afraid to talk about her battles and the fact that she has used them to become stronger and to emerge the other end a better person. In the album she not only thanks her mother and her daughter and credits her mother from saving her from drug addiction but she also thanks God, the, "love of her life, her heavenly father whom she thanks for everything she has."
The album has a very R&B sound to it and is more like her last songs rather than the big ballads from the 80's and early 90's. It is unmistakeably Whitney, you can spot her voice from miles off. However, I don't think her voice is as good as it used to be. To me it sounds a little raspy at times. I also feel that she is not hitting the high notes as she used to. We are used to Whitney singing powerful, strong notes that last forever but to me it seems like some of the power has come out of her voice and she shies away from hitting those top notes which is a shame because I feel this is what really separated her from the competition. I think this shows in the songs she has decided to sing. Apart from number 4, I Look To You, there are no real big ballads like I Will Always Love You or similar. The songs on the album are safer to sing I think but saying that she still does a great job.
Track One, Million Dollar Bill is one that has been released as a single already and I really like this song, so far it's my favourite on the album. It's upbeat and has a chorus that is easy to repeat so gets you singing along. Track 5 features the R&B singer songwriter Akon and the sound is typically Akon but I do like the collaboration between the two.
The rest of the tracks are as follows:
1. Million Dollar Bill
2. Nothin' But Love
3. Call You Tonight
4. I Look to You
5. Like I Never Left - featuring Akon
6. A Song For You
7. I Didn't Know My OWn Strength
8. Worth It
9. For The Lovers
10. I Got You
I really like this album, Whitney is back, perhaps not to her best but somewhere fairly close and I can't wait for more.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Million Dollar Bill
2 Nothin' But Love
3 Call You Tonight
4 I Look To You
5 Like I Never Left Feat. Akon
6 A Song For You
7 I Didn't Know My Own Strength
8 Worth It
9 For The Lovers
10 I Got You