Confident without being cocky, emotive without being melodramatic...

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Whitney Houston : Heartbreak Hotel

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Whitney Houston : Heartbreak Hotel

This track, taken from Houston’s multi-award-winning, multi-million-selling ‘My Love Is Your Love’ album has already struck gold in the States, where it was released over a year ago. Although the appeal of this oddly-paced mid-tempo relies heavily on the ‘girls united in rejection’ ethos, it works because the guest vocalists appearing with Houston – Faith Evans and Kelly Price – are two enormously talented singers who have carved out careers specialising in soulful balladry. Their respective abilities to wring emotion out of the written word means that anything they sing is seen as sincere. They are, it is presumed, R&B narrators of the heart.

But the risk of having three individually successful singers collaborate on one track is that the song could drown in the weight of competitive vocal acrobatics. But Houston, Evans and Price are secure in their gifts (Price started out as a backing singer for Mariah Carey while Evans, who was married to The Notorious B.I.G., was the first female artist signed to Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy label).

Confident without being cocky, emotive without being melodramatic, they’ve made a tidy meal of this track which does nothing for Houston’s increasingly derided image, but reminds you why she had an image in the first place.

Jacqueline Springer