I Look to You by Whitney Houston; Pop; RCA/Jive
Whitney Houston has been one to watch ever since the beginning of her career with a self-titled debut that was huge success. She is the fourth-biggest selling female artist of all time. Like many artists, this actress, singer and reality star had problems when her private life overshadowed her natural-born talent.
"The Queen of the Night" is at it again with the new album, I Look to You. First, Houston's voice has changed since 2002's Just Whitney. Whether it is age, the drugs or yelling "Bobby" too many times, her range is now lower and the timbre is similar to her mother, Cissy Houston. This Houston is no longer the unstoppable pop force that she once was but now has a vulnerability to her that sometimes works to her advantage.
There are some nice moments on the 11-track compact disc, though. The upbeat "Million Dollar Bill" is a good contrast to the stripped-down R. Kelly title track. Oprah Winfrey prefers the song "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" but songwriter Diane Warren is not known for her subtlety and the words are, once again, contrived. The problem lies in the fact that several cuts are as weak as Houston's vocal cords. Listening to "Worth It" and "I Got You," things start to wear thin. Her new record is selling quite wellmaybe for its novelty or adult contemporary sound. This is, unfortunately, not the old Whitney that we all love but the closing track, "Salute," might be a step in the right direction.
Rating: Flat ( Sharp=good; Natural=average; Flat=bad )