Finally the wait is over! Whitney is back! With a real album! And no Bobby Brown!
This week, Whitney releases the highly anticipated “I Look To You,” on which she reunited with her mentor Clive Davis, and reminds us exactly why she’s sold 140 million albums and spawned a slew of imitators.
With Davis at the helm as co-producer, along with Whitney herself and Larry Jackson, she has surrounded herself with some of the biggest hit-makers around, including Swizz Beats, Alicia Keys, David Foster and even Akon—who she says is big with daughter Bobbi Kristina’s friends.
“Don’t call it a comeback,” Whitney declares on “Salute,” where she likens herself to a solider girl who has made it home. “I’ve been here for years/through all the drama and the pain.” Throughout the album she lets us know time and time again that her spirit hasn’t been broken; yet, impressively, Whitney also doesn’t shy away from sharing her vulnerability and pain.
On the standout track “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength,” written by Diane Warren, Whitney declares: “Lost touch with my soul/thought it would be the end of me.” And on the R. Kelly-penned title track she delivers heartbreakingly beautiful lyrics, her gospel-inspired voice soaring over gentle piano parts, reminiscent of her vocally acrobatic Bodyguard moment.
But don’t think for a second that Whitney has forgotten the “haters,” telling them flat out “you ain’t gonna kill my vibe,” and killing them with kindness on “Nothin’ But Love,” when she belts out that she has just that—even for “the ones who tried to hate me/the ones who tried to break me.”
Yet, Whitney remains optimistic about love, even dedicating two songs to all the lovers out there. She reminds us she’s still the queen of loves songs on tracks like “Call You Tonight,” and proves she still has that infectious positive energy when she sings about destiny and magic with starry-eyed hope.
And though Whitney is undisputedly still a flawless balladeer, there are a few cringe-worthy moments on the album’s more upbeat tracks, like the ‘90s style beats and throwaway lyrics on the disco-lite “Million Dollar Bill.”
But we’re not hatin’. There’s no question that Whitney sounds, not to mention looks, better than she has in years, setting her up for what could be the best comeback ever. And soon we’ll get to hear the story behind all those heartfelt lyrics, when she sits down with Oprah on September 14th for a tell-all interview—her first interview in seven years—that the ever-modest talk show host is touting as “the most anticipated music interview of the decade.”