By Fezekile Cokile
If Michael Jackson was the ‘king of Pop’ then Whiney Houston certainly was the Queen. This could not have been more evident and confirmed than in Houston’s fourth studio album, titled ‘My love is your love’. The album draws on quite distinct and different genres that you will find something for everyone . Additionally this album has produced quite a number of noticeable smash hits at the time of its release which you will still hear nowadays being played by folks on the streets and parties. Tracks such as the title track, My love is your love and Heartbreak Hotel.
This album is deeply haunting. It stays with you’ Houston’s voice echoes in your head even long after you have pressed stop on your music player. Listen to the deeply confrontational, cleverly penned cynical track It’s not right but it’s okay where Houston confronts her lover for infidelity. This Grammy award winning song is not only notable for its feminist themes but also for Houston’s fluid vocals which show maturity and utter confidence. Towards the end, she tells her cheating lover ‘I’m going to be alright! I’, going to be okay’ continuously, as if at first she was not sure but the more she say it the more she believes it. Houston’s maturity is also evident in her ‘oohs!’ and ‘aahs’ in the track which no other singer, be it Mariah Mariah Carey or Celine Dion could emulate. It is no wonder then that the TV show Glee did a cover version of this classic.
In case you were wondering what would happen if the late Bob Marley would have had Houston’s voice, the title track of the album is about as close to that answer as you would get. In this mid tempo, explicitly reggae influenced song Houston’s vocal fluidity and purity bloom as she portrays her love to her lover. A song of many themes, love, poverty, fame and religion, it was utterly relevant at the time of its release in 1999 due the fears and anxiety people were facing because of the approaching new millennium.
When you believe is the Oscar winning powerhouse duet between Houston and Carey. A slow tempo ballad which includes elements of pop and contemporary R&B genres the song appeals to everyone due to its message of hope. You’ll never stand alone is a familiar track which would not disappoint.
Other tracks point to Houston’s marriage to Bobby Brown at that time and include the suggestive song Oh yes, In My business’ a collaboration with Missy Elliot where Houston defends her marriage. Get it back is a symbolic track which hints about the troubles in Houston’s marriage at that time. Here she asks her lover when they will get back what they used to have.
It not surprising then that critics gave rave reviews to this album, including USA Today saying that ‘Houston’s Love stands on its own. Soaring. Rollicking. The best of both worlds’. Additionally Billboard magazine called it a ‘Top Spotlight Pick! A tour de force album’ and further commenting that ‘Houston’s spectacular voice and singular artistic persona provide an album with immense crossover potential.