The 20 Best Whitney Houston Songs: Ranked! | whitney houston

20. You Give Good Love (1985)

Released as avant-garde R&B took a turn toward electronic and futuristic, Whitney Houston’s self-titled debut LP launched her right into the middle of the road. But his was MOR from a very elegant stripe, as You Give Good Love demonstrates. Also, her voice was powerful enough to add excitement and value to the slippery environment.

19. Step by Step (1996)

An old Annie Lennox B-side transformed into something magical through a house-influenced beat, synth chatter slowly building into its arrangement, and a gospel-infused chorus. Houston sounds imperious throughout, delivering the uplifting lyrics about fearless self-improvement with absolute conviction.

18. Look into your heart (1994)

“I love you,” he tells Look Into Your Heart author Curtis Mayfield as he gets into gear. Indeed, he chose a great deep cut to cover her tribute album, originally sung by Aretha Franklin for the 1976 Sparkle soundtrack (Houston later produced and starred in a new version). These are big shoes to fill, but Houston does it with aplomb.

17. Run To You (1992)

It says something about the accumulation of immense ballads on The Bodyguard soundtrack album that Run to You was relegated to the humble position of fourth single. If it doesn’t measure up to I Will Always Love You or isn’t as immersive as I Have Nothing, it’s still simultaneously vulnerable and CinemaScope epic.

16. One Million Dollar Bill (2009)

By the time of her last album, I Look to You, Houston’s lifestyle had audibly affected her voice; the subsequent tour was far from his best. There was a sense of bonding with Alicia Keys’ insistence on writing and producing her smash hit Million Dollar Bill, but the results of the disco-infused Loleatta Holloway sampling were genuinely fantastic.

15. Count Me In (1995)

On the one hand, Count on Me’s chant of enduring friendship tends a bit to the maudlin and sentimental, but, as was often the case in Houston’s career, her voice and, in this case, the apparent real-life chemistry between her and her duo. partner, CeCe Winans, elevates the material to a different plane.

On stage in Paris in 1988.
On stage in Paris in 1988. Photograph: Alain Benainous/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

14. I did not know my own strength (2009)

A great final ballad, courtesy of Dianne Warren, whose lyrics obviously address Houston’s drug and marriage problems. There’s something genuinely moving about hearing her say them in a voice gruff and gravelly than the one that made her famous, adding a patina of hard-earned experience.

13. Same script, different cast (2000)

It takes a certain kind of sass to pull off a classical piece as famous as Beethoven’s Für Elise, but sass is not something this duo lacks. Deborah Cox) and builds up to the dramatic key changes as it builds to its climax.

12. One of Those Days (2002)

Just Whitney’s first single was the pitiful Whatchulookinat, less a song than an exercise in damage limitation. But, if her life was spiraling and the quality control of her albums was flawed, Houston could still occasionally produce it: Isley Brothers’ second single, One of That Days, is a wildly underrated R&B gem. .

11. Saving all my love for you (1985)

Now it seems surprising that this wasn’t the first choice single of Houston’s debut. Mama Cissy didn’t like her daughter singing from the point of view of a man’s lover, but what’s notable is the lack of obscenity here; it’s a song about melancholic sadness: the realism that struggles with the expectation that you know is going to deflate.

10. All The Man I Need (1990)

Whoever was looking for songs for Houston had sharp ears: lurking in a failed 1982 album by disco-era star Linda Clifford was the raw material for an anthem. Houston not only turns everything into 11, but cleverly delves into the desperation of the lyrics, emphasizing the line “he’s all I’ve got” – raw emotion behind the pyrotechnics.

9. The Greatest Love of All (1986)

It is instructive to compare Houston’s version of The Greatest Love of All with George Benson’s original. The last one is fine, a great heartbreaking MOR ballad suitable for a movie climax, which he did. But Houston makes it a smash hit; there is a force and power in the interpretation of it that immediately makes the original sound missing.

8. I will always love you (1992)

It’s easy to take I Will Always Love You for granted: it’s so familiar now that it barely registers while playing. But try to dissociate it from her all-pervading state and listen to the voice: for all the flourishes and power notes, it never loses its emotional weight, never sounds like Houston doesn’t mean every word.

7. I’m Your Baby Tonight (1990)

Clearly, the cool reception she received at the 1989 Soul Train Awards, from a crowd who thought she barely qualified as a soul artist given her appeal to white listeners, affected Houston. Her 1990 album I’m Your Baby Tonight moved away from pop toward new jack swing, exemplified by her splendid title track, which contrasts her vocals with a noticeably harder mesh of samples. The chorus is still catchy as hell.

6. How will I know? (1985)

Modeled after Deniece Williams’ Let’s Hear It for the Boy, how will I know? it’s a far better song than Williams’ jaunty 1984 hit: a perfectly formed slice of mid-’80s bubblegum soul (booming drums, sax solo and all) as bright and inviting as the neon colors that dot the set. of your video.

5. It’s Not Okay, But It’s Okay (1999)

Producer Rodney Jerkins created a more modern sound than previously associated with Houston (music box tones, sneaky bassline, thumping beats) only to see radio pass him by and he dropped the 2000 Houston compilation. The Greatest Hits in favor of a house remix. The original is the one you want: its cold tone perfectly suits the theme.

Houston in 2009.
Houston in 2009. Photography: PictureGroup/Rex Features

4. My love is your love (1999)

It’s hard to get around the fact that My Love Is Your Love leans heavily on Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry for inspiration, but it’s equally hard to get around the fact that it’s a fantastic song: warm and cuddly, with a hip vibe to it. -hop influenced. sound that is beyond the reach of Houston standards, and blessed with a beautiful intimate voice.

3. Exhale (Shoop Shoop) (1995)

Houston controls you here, her voice relatively laid-back and low-key, as befits a song about letting go and moving on. Paired with Imperial-phase Babyface on songwriting and production duties, and a hook that settles permanently into your brain the first time you hear it, it’s an understated masterpiece.

2. I want to dance with someone (Who loves me) (1987)

Many objections have been raised about Houston’s ’80s oeuvre (too bland, too calculated, too eager to reach a white audience), but he’s a total curmudgeon who doesn’t feel his heart race a fraction when I Wanna Dance With Somebody happily jumps out of the speakers: irresistible instant sunshine in musical form.

1. I have nothing (1992)

Inevitably commercially it was overshadowed by the box office hit I Will Always Love You, but I Have Nothing is Whitney Houston’s power ballad to end all Whitney Houston power ballads, a five-minute emotional roller coaster that springs from a soft supplication to a full one. Hell-hath-no-fury (Don’t you DARE walk away from me!) with all the vocal embellishments included. The work of David Foster, a songwriter derided by Rolling Stone as “the master of bombastic pop kitsch.” ” – And his then-wife, Linda Thompson, in minor hands I Have Nothing would just sound histrionic, but Houston’s voice makes it absolutely gripping and believable: an alchemist at work.

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