Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston – 1985
Claimed Sales: 30m
First listen?: Yes
Format Listened?: Apple Music
Before this series, for whatever reason, the only Whitney Houston album I had heard all of the way through was her 2009 final studio album I Look To You. On first listen, the thing that amazed me about Whitney Houston is just how self assured and confident it is as an album. I knew the vocal performance would be in ‘Greatest vocalist of all time’ territory, because you know, it’s Whitney. What I didn’t expect was how assured in style it would be. There’s ballads here, plenty of them, but with a voice like Whitney’s this is totally a great thing. Two duets with Jermaine Jackson, Nobody Loves Me Like You Do and Take Good Care of My Heart do little more than beg the question why anyone would attempt a duet with Whitney. Having the confidence to include a song as ridiculous as All At Once on your debut album is impressive, while Saving All My Love For You errs on the right side of sickly sweet. All I wrote in my notes for the George Benson cover was ‘THE GREAAATTESTT LOVEE OF AALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL’, most definitely the standout vocal moment of Whitney Houston. What keeps the album from feeling one note though is the uptempo tracks, Thinking About You and Someone For Me are full of sass and energy. It’s How Will I Know that stands out amongst everything else though, one of the era’s strongest pop hooks and full of youthful energy that could be lacking on the ballads. It’s the emergence of an effervescent pop talent, who has so much potential ahead of her and the confidence and vocal chops to stand out among the true greats of the era. Whitney Houston is a fantastic album and probably one of my biggest surprises of the series so far.
Will I listen again?: Definitely
Best Track: The Greatest Love of All is undoubtedly the best vocal moment of the album, but How Will I Know just about edges it as one of the decade’s best pop songs.