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"Whitney" came as the second album from the Pop R&B singer Whitney Houston two years after "Whitney Houston" - her debut. A 1987 release, it allowed the artist to establish herself as a top performer in her field from the time and gets her bringing with it a range of hits singles ranging from danceable Pop tracks to more soulful ballads to show all that the then-young vocalist had to offer the music world. She gets an all-star line-up of musicians backing her up on production with Roy Ayers, Randy Jackson and Kenny G, amongst the many helping her behind the scenes.
1. "I Wanna Dance With Somebody"
The album gets off to an impressive starts as we're launched right into a hit single from the artist. The tune affirmed her position in the game with a track that would go on to stand as a classic dance cut from her and a tune that few are able to say they aren't into. It's a very catchy track and takes you in from the very start.
2. "Just The Lonely Talking Again"
The listeners are made to move right on from an energetic dance tune to then be trusted right into a soft slow jam. I found that this was a nice and gentle recording from Whitney. You find that in it, the artist makes good use of the wide vocal range that she has available to her, but it makes for a rather average overall song with no real defining features.
3. "Love Will Save The Day"
Suddenly we're made to get into more up-tempo material from the artist. She gets backing from Toni C as the writer, and she seems to have done a good job with the lyrics to make an uplifting track that made for a nice single (but one that didn't quite see all that attention when compared to the biggest ones).
4. "Didn't We Almost Have It All"
The dramatic changes in tempo continue as things are slowed right down for this one. I felt that it was well-received this time as she takes us into a nice ballad here. I enjoyed this very traditional Pop tune as she puts up a great vocal performance and ensures that she takes listeners in, in spite of the rather compact structure of the song.
5. "So Emotional"
Written by the same people behind "Like A Virgin", "Eternal Flame" and "True Colors", this is a pure Pop track and one that takes us right back towards the danceable tune from Whitney. I felt that the thing wasn't really suited all that well towards my personal tastes, however it's catchiness makes it grow on you no matter what you're into.
6. "Where Are You"
This slow love ballad is a rather standard one from the singer. I have to admit that although I thought that (as ever) she did very well with how she projected her voice and made for a very emotive performance, the song just wasn't geared towards my tastes and was far too much in the styles of these times and so was quite disposable and doesn't carry the timelessness that other tracks from the album bring with them.
7. "Love Is A Contact Sport"
Randy Jackson throws down a funky bass riff as the backing to this track, however you don't really notice it all that much after the introduction as the song develops out into a rather general Dance-Pop track from the time. It really wasn't for me, how the way its written makes it extremely catchy to the listener and so ensures that you'll be brought in from the start and you'll enjoy what it offers to some degree.
8. "You're Still My Man"
Whitney's voice grabs you as this one begins. As she's backed minimally by slowly-winding production, it ensures that it makes for quite a personal experience as you hear her singing directly towards her partner about how she wants her love for him to last forever. It's a well put-together track and one that really stands out in spite of being one of the few which didn't see a release as a single here.
9. "For The Love Of You"
This was a big single from the album and one which really hit hard one the release as you get a very memorable sax performance from Kenny G. This is a pretty big cover from her as she takes on a little Quiet Storm to win over the R&B crowd and show that she's into the work of The Isley Brothers and to some degree it influenced her sound (in just the way Joss Stone did when she used it as a song for her debut year later).
10. "Where Do Broken Hearts Go"
This was another fairly significant single from the singer and one that sets itself aside from the rest as a song which wasn't originally intended to be included on the record. I found it to be a strong one from her and its melodies are certainly very memorable and ensure that it has the sort of crossover appeal that she was looking for around this time. It's a quality piece and one bound to grab you once it gets underway.
11. "I Know Him So Well"
The album comes to a close with a duet where Whitney comes to work with her mother Cissy (Houston). It's a big track and one that brings the record to a suitable end as we're given a powerful ballad to go off on and something that's bound to make you want more so that you're bound to follow her career as it continues from this point. I enjoyed it, and thought that pair of them worked together well.
Although the trends in mainstream Pop weren't really all to my taste in the 1987-1988 period, I felt that when Whitney strayed away from those sorts of disposable hits she made for songs that pretty much anyone can enjoy as she always puts up a great vocal performance and ensures that you'll have fun listening to how she pushes it.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)
2 Just The Lonely Talking Again
3 Love Will Save The Day
4 Didn't We Almost Have It All
5 So Emotional
6 Where Are You
7 Love Is A Contact Sport
8 You're Still My Man
9 For The Love Of You
10 Where Do Broken Hearts Go
11 I Know Him So Well