-Album of the Day-
Released: June 2nd, 1987
Whitney Houston’s second studio album is known for the hit singles it produced and the records it broke for and achievements it accomplished as the product of a female solo artist. As far as albums go Whitney is not a great one. It doesn’t do anything different from a musical standpoint that would allow it to stand out, nor does it push the limits of album production to new interesting places. Whitney is put together like a random collection of love songs that were being performed by Houston at the time. With all of that being said what makes Whitney stand out amongst other albums from the 80’s is that this collection of love songs is particularly great. From the first moments of I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) to the final moments of the duet performance Houston gives with her mother Cissi Houston on I Know Him So Well listeners are given great music to listen to.
Part of what makes the music on Whitney so good is Houston’s powerful voice. One of the better pop voices of the 80’s, Houston’s singing is the main draw of the album. It’s unfortunate that a lot of the music on Whitney rehashes cliché pop sensibilities about love, because even when Houston spends her time singing about topics that seem old and boring she is capable of drawing the listener in. In fact, Houston’s singing saves this album. Most of the music on this album would be boring without Houston singing over the backing tracks, with a few exceptions including I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me). Houston’s music may resemble typical pop style, but her singing isn’t that of a typical pop singer, and it may save the album.
Some of the music on Whitney can be on the weaker side, but when a fun or interesting song plays it hits particularly. Maybe it’s because the rest of the music doesn’t stand out as much, or perhaps it’s because the song is just generally great, but I Just Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) is exciting, fun and a delight to listen to in the same ways songs like Girls Just Wanna Have Fun or Never Gonna Give You Up are. It makes perfect sense to put that song on the first track of the album because it is without a doubt the best track on the album and grabs the listener in ways that could convince them that the whole album is worth listening to, not that it isn’t, but it wouldn’t be crazy to wonder if the album would have been such a hit if it was missing I Just Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).
Whitney has a lot of flaws as an album, which is what makes it so surprising that that it was enjoyable to listen to. While it is clear that Houston’s skill as a singer and the occasional hit songs keep Whitney from becoming a disappointment, they do such an excellent job of doing so that they lift Whitney above other albums that never would have been able to reach such highs.