I was glad to see Whitney Houston return to the music space.I like several songs on her new album, "I Look To You," released Monday. But Iam disappointed with her live performance on Good Morning America that aired Wednesday.
Here's the bottom line, Whitney Houston was the kind ofvocalist who could sing the ABCs and make you cry. Her voice was pure, clean,and crisp. The way she approached the notes left you impressed. You always feltthat you were listening to someone in the elite class.
I felt like she was struggling to get through the songs.Sometimes she recited lyrics instead of singing them at all. Other times whensinging, she sounded just average.
The title track, "I Look to You," is a song about triumph,and thanking her support team for sticking by her side. When she performed it,you could feel her emotion. She appeared as if she was about to breakdown asshe dedicated the song to her mother, Cissy, who was in the audience.
Whitney was better when singing the more up-tempo songs. Sheopened the set with the Alicia Keys penned and co-produced "Million DollarBill," a fun, '80s dance record. The song was too heavy on backing tracks andvocals. It was fine; it just lacked the spectacular moments that were once hertrademark.
The same is the case for "My Love Is Your Love." It gotworse when her 16-year-old daughter Bobbi Kristina, who sings on the original1998 version, joined her mother on the stage to perform her part. BobbiKristina is not a singer. It was cute to see her on stage with her mom, butthis defining moment of return was not the right time. If Bobbi Kristina was asinger, it would have helped.
Unfortunately, speculation over whether or not Whitney couldstill deliver an impactful live performance was the big question. And if theGood Morning American performance is the barometer that we are to use to makethis determination, the answer would have to be , "No."
Ironically, I do like her album, even though it is apparentthat she no longer hits the high notes like she did on seminal songs "TheGreatest Love of All" and "I Will Always Love You." For the recording, shefound a suitable workaround in producing more mid-tempo, soulful songs thatare more compatible with her new, thick, husky vocals.
It just appears that these records are best experienced in acontrolled environment where the producers have the benefit of cleaning up thegross imperfections that are otherwise magnified in a live setting.