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R&B - Released June 2, 1987 | Arista - Legacy

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released February 14, 1985 | Arista

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
As big a hit as it was -- and it was a multi-platinum blockbuster, spinning off several chart-toppers -- it’s not easy to think of Whitney Houston’s 1985 debut as the dawning of a new era, but it was. Arriving in the thick of MTV, when the slick sounds of yacht-soul were fading, Whitney Houston is the foundation of diva-pop, straddling clean, cheery R&B and big ballads designed with the adult contemporary audience in mind. Houston’s background lay in the former -- actually, it was even riskier, encompassing a stint with the experimental Bill Laswell outfit Material -- and her benefactor Clive Davis knew all about selling records to the masses. Appealing as this album is, Davis may never have imagined how Whitney Houston would shift tastes, pushing toward skyscraping ballads where the singer’s affectations, not the songs, were paramount -- a move that later led to hollow records, but on Whitney Houston the songs were as important as the immaculate productions. Certainly, the showstopping “Greatest Love of All” provided the blueprint for decades of divas, but it’s the only overblown moment here, with the rest of the ballads -- notably “Saving All My Love for You” and “You Give Good Love” -- burning slowly and seductively, but what really impresses some 20-plus years on are the lighter tracks, particularly the breakthrough single “How Will I Know” and the unheralded “Thinking About You,” a dance/R&B hit co-written by Kashif that remains one of Whitney’s purest pop pleasures. These joyful, rhythmic moments faded away from Houston’s later work -- and also rarely surfaced on the records of those who followed her -- but their presence on this debut turns this into a fully rounded record, the rare debut that manages to telegraph every aspect of an artist's career in a mere ten songs. [The 2010 25th anniversary edition of Whitney Houston is expanded with five bonus tracks -- remixes of “Thinking About You,” “Someone for Me,” “How Will I Know,” a live version of “Greatest Love of All” from 1990, and a superfluous a cappella mix of “How Will I Know” -- and a bonus DVD containing music videos from the album, new interviews, and -- best of all -- Whitney’s star-making 1983 performance on The Merv Griffin Show.] © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released February 14, 1985 | Arista - Legacy

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Soundtracks - Released November 17, 1992 | Arista

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R&B - Released November 17, 2017 | Arista - Legacy

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I Wish You Love: More from The Bodyguard is a compilation album assembling various recordings from American singer Whitney Houston. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the movie The Bodyguard, the collection features previously unheard, live, and alternate versions of the soundtrack material the singer provided. © Rob Wacey /TiVo
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R&B - Released November 9, 2012 | Arista Records - RCA Records

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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released October 29, 2007 | Arista - Legacy

A compilation released in various territories outside the U.S., including the U.K., The Ultimate Collection covers Whitney Houston's career through 1998's My Love Is Your Love, containing most of the notable singles she released throughout the '80s and '90s. It's a fairly straightforward set, though there are some alternate mixes in place of original versions (including "I'm Your Baby Tonight"), which is not noted on the outside of the packaging. Some will find fault in the number of notable exclusions, including "Miracle," "You Give Good Love," "I Believe in You and Me," and "All the Man That I Need" -- all of which were Top Ten R&B singles in the States. But that is more an issue of space than poor track selection. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released November 16, 1998 | Arista

For all intents and purposes, Whitney Houston retired from being a full-fledged recording artist after her third album, 1990s I'm Your Baby Tonight, choosing to be a Streisand-like celebrity who cultivated a career through movies, soundtrack contributions, and social appearances. She may have been content to continue in that direction for many years if Arista president Clive Davis didn't push her into recording My Love Is Your Love, her first album in eight years, which easily ranks among her best. Never before has Houston tried so many different sounds or tried so hard to be hip. It's one thing to work with Babyface, the standard-bearer of smooth soul in the '90s, but it's quite another to hire Wyclef Jean, Lauren Hill, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, and Q-Tip -- all cutting-edge artists (albeit on the accessible side of the cutting edge), the kind who never would have been associated with Houston in the late '80s. The gambit works. There is still a fair share of David Foster-produced adult contemporary ballads, but the true news is on the up-tempo and mid-tempo dance numbers. In fact, the songs that feel the stiffest are the big production numbers; tellingly, they're the songs that are the most reminiscent of old-school Houston. That's not to say she can no longer belt out ballads convincingly -- in fact, the best ballads are where she restrains herself, delivering them with considerable nuance. Houston has never been quite so subtle before, nor has she ever shown this desire to branch out musically. That alone would be reason enough to rank My Love Is Your Love among her more interesting albums, but the fact that it works more often than not pushes it into the top rank of her recorded work. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released September 26, 1990 | Arista - Legacy

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Pop - Released May 16, 2000 | Arista - Legacy

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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released November 18, 2003 | Arista

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Whitney Houston delivered One Wish: The Holiday Album, her first Christmas record, a year after her 2002 comeback, Just Whitney. If it seemed like that record played it safe, that's nothing compared to One Wish, which is the straightest adult contemporary record Houston had released in years. Of course, holiday records are the last place anybody would want to take a risk, since they're designed to be nice, pleasant mood music and this suits the bill nicely. The clean, pristine production, heavy on synths, sounds as if it was cut in the late '80s, yet it's also strangely spare, often being no more than a synth and a drum machine. Still, it's a sound that's well suited for Whitney and her thoroughly predictable set of material (the title track is the only new song, then the final two songs are recycled from the soundtrack of The Preacher's Wife). Ultimately, One Wish is the kind of album that may only appeal to a fan of Whitney who has already yearned for her holiday album, but for those fans, it will be satisfactory. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released August 28, 2009 | Arista

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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released November 25, 1996 | Arista

Like The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale before it, The Preacher's Wife is a soundtrack that also functions as a Whitney Houston album, but that's where the similarity ends. Where The Bodyguard was adult contemporary pop at its finest and Waiting to Exhale was a virtual encyclopedia of mid-'90s mainstream black pop, The Preacher's Wife is an attempt at gospel-soul. Much of the music on the soundtrack was composed by Babyface, who normally can pull off such fusion. Babyface's pop material and David Foster's production of Houston's "I Believe in You and Me" are the most successful cuts, bar Kirk Franklin's exuberant "Joy," which utterly puts the other gospel cuts on the album to shame. So, there are enough strong cuts to make The Preacher's Wife worthwhile, but anyone who is looking for Houston strutting like a diva will likely be disappointed. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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R&B - Released November 7, 2014 | Arista - Legacy

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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released November 7, 1995 | Legacy Recordings

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Pop - Released December 30, 1998 | Arista

The four-year wait between 2002's Just Whitney and her previous album, 1998's My Love Is Your Love, was half that between that record and its predecessor, 1990's I'm Your Baby Tonight, but it felt twice the length, since Whitney Houston's career nose-dived during those four years. She retreated from the spotlight and as she cancelled concerts, scrapped albums, and pulled out of public appearances, rumors swirled that she and husband Bobby Brown were dangerously addicted to drugs. Following a disastrous performance at the September 2001 Michael Jackson tribute concert, where she looked as if she had already wasted away, the chattering reached a fever pitch and she needed to restore her reputation -- hence the title of Just Whitney, an assertion that she's returning to her basics. But that's not the half of it. As her trainwreck interview with Diane Sawyer on PrimeTime Live the week prior to Just Whitney's release proved, she's arrogantly defensive about her "bad habits" and is "Unashamed" of "the life that [she] leads," as she sings on the eighth song on this odd, disarmingly brief (under 40 minutes) self-styled comeback album. Just listen to the first single, the roundly ignored "Whatchulookinat" (produced by husband Brown, who Whitney thanks for being the best producer in the world, although he only helmed this track on the album), where she plays the victim, claiming that the gossip-mongers "messing with my reputation/ain't you got no education...don't even have a clue about what I'm facin'," coming across as if she had something to hide. It's a sentiment that runs throughout the album -- phrases like "you don't know what I'm goin' through" and "you criticize my actions/even though you don't stand in my shoes" pop up regularly -- and undermines an album that's otherwise a not-bad set of contemporary soul. Certainly, Whitney is in better voice than rival diva Mariah Carey (whose near simultaneously released Charmbracelet found her voice in tatters) and she's fortunate enough to have Babyface for four productions, three of which are among the highlights of the album. Though Missy Elliott produces a track here, this is nowhere near as concerned with hip production as My Love was and who can blame her? When a career is on the rocks, it's best to play it safe. And that's what Just Whitney is: a measured attempt to salvage a career that's on the verge of destruction. Does it work? Well, musically, it's not bad, though few songs are memorable. It would be a good standard-issue Whitney album if it wasn't for her disarming, defensive attempt to defuse every rumor hurled in her direction. Even an otherwise innocuous duet with Brown is presented like it's the two of them against the world, nearly celebrating the fact that Bobby's voice is very strained these days. Worst of all, there seems to be nobody to check Whitney and prevent her from indulging in bad ideas. After all, surely somebody in the Houston camp should have realized that at this crucial time in her career, as she admits drug "habits," that covering "You Light Up My Life" might not be the smartest move to make right now. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released June 6, 2006 | Arista

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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released February 12, 1991 | Arista

Houston displays her fabulous vocal talents on this version of the national anthem of the United States performed during the opening ceremonies of the 1991 NFL Super Bowl. © Ashley S. Battel /TiVo
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Electronic - Released April 25, 2000 | Arista

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Dance - Released November 1, 1986 | Arista - Legacy

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