With Whitney Houston's forthcoming comeback album just over 2 months and a bit away, I thought it would be nice to look through her past albums. I've left out all her soundtracks released through the '90s (The Bodyguard, Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher's Wife), focusing completely on her studio albums.
Whitney Houston (1985) (4.5/5). Houston's eponymous debut album was a simple but great blend of slick urban contemporary and fantastic '08s upbeat adult pop songs fueled by Houston's magnificent vocal; making for an incredibly strong debut. It's limited set displayed a solid ratio between its ballads and uptempos -- making almost every moment a notable occurrence. Producing a string of #1s (which included the bluesy ballad "Save All My Love for You" and the thundering '80s pop soaked "How Will I Know") the album verges on '80s urban pop perfection. Essential: Saving All My Love for You, Nobody Loves Me Like You Do, How Will I Know, Greatest Love of All, You Give Good Love
Whitney (1987) (4/5). I didn't like Whitney's second album as much as her first. Spawning 4 #1s, Houston's second album pretty much acquired the same formula as the first, maybe capitalizing more the fun '80s uptempos and smooth midtempos rather than the ballads (I've always preferred the ballads on the last album) but "Didn't We Almost Have It All" and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" are great. The real gem of the album is the classic "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" which pretty much sums up upbeat '80s pop. Essential: I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Where Do Broken Hearts Go, Didn't We Almost Have It All, So Emotional, Just the Lonely Talking Again
I'm Your Baby Tonight (1990) (3.5/5). Houston's third album is very scatty for the most part; only really working well upon a few moments such as the albums best moment, the funky, synth soaked "My Name Is Not Susan" and "All the Man That I Need" which is a pretty nice dramatic ballad. The title track is quite decent too. Essential: My Name Is Not Susan, All the Man That I Need, I'm Your Babe Tonight
My Love Is Your Love (1998) (4.5/5). Houston's fourth album was her first in almost 8 years, she'd released the biggest selling soundtrack of all time, followed by 2 other relatively successful soundtracks and featured in 3 box office smashes. With the help of the likes of Rodney Jerkins, Babyface and Missy Elliot, My Love Is Your Love updated Houston's image--arriving at a slick urban contemporary sound. The album really hits the mark when it approaches the more R&B fueled moments, such as the acoustic styled "Heartbreak Hotel," "It's Not Right But It's Okay" and "In My Buisness." The album also measures up well with its balladry, the eerie duet with Mariah Carey on "When You Believe" is just stunning. I also love the incredibly dramatic "I Learned from the Best" and the broadway styled "Until You Come Back." Essneital: When You Believe, It's Not Right But It's Okay, Heartbreak Hotel, Until You Come Back, I Learned from the Best, In My Buisenss, You'll Never Stand Alone, My Love Is Your Love
Just Whitney (2002) (3/5). While Houston's fifth album received heaps of backlash, I didn't think it was largely disappointing -- there maybe a great number of tracks on here that fall into the generic R&B field, but there a couple that really work. The lead single "Watchulookinat" is probably the albums greatest moment. "Tell Me No" and duet with Ex husband, Bobby Brown "My Love" are actually quite good too. Essential: Watchulookinat, My Love, Tell Me No, Dear John Letter, On My Own