Whitney Houston (1963-2012)

Pop singer, Whitney Houston, has passed away at the age of 48.  The Guardian published a very comprehensive eulogy and overview of Houston's career.

It's incredibly unfortunate, but as with Michael Jackson, Houston's actual contributions to pop music and her talent as a singer had less resonance with the public than her difficulties with drug abuse, her unhealthy marriage to singer, Bobby Brown, and her erratic public behavior.  It's all about the headlines and she'd become a celebrity punchline.

Though I can't claim to have ever been particularly fond of Houston's music, I do believe her to be one of the last true original R&B voices to emerge over the last twenty years, maybe thirty years.  You can preach the gospel of Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey or Beyoncé Knowles till you run out of breath, but as far as I can tell, down to the Disney charter school that shot out Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears like freshly-greased newborns out the Minnie Mouse birth canal, all these "singers" have been putting a spin on or blatantly stealing Houston's inflections for years.  Whether that's to Houston's detriment or not, her influence is undeniable.  Having said that, one of the greats has left us and it's an absolute pity.

Now that Houston's gone, the detritus of her public persona will likely be a footnote next to her abilities.  She'll once again be a voice and not just a casualty of the tabloids.  She'll sell records and be revered for the talents that mattered very little toward the end of her career and life.  The cycle continues.

Letters From A Tapehead


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