Review: Whitney Houston, ‘I Look to You’

Whitney Houston, ‘I Look to You’: Aidin Vaziri | Anyone who had the misfortune of watching “Being Bobby Brown” will have a hard time erasing the image of Whitney Houston and her ex-husband discussing her constipation issues in execrable detail. The singer’s label hopes that a little hairspray and some Photoshop will put that image out of people’s minds long enough for her latest comeback attempt to take hold. It’s a long shot. Seven years have passed since “Just Whitney,” Houston’s previous studio album, and in that time not only her public image has deteriorated but also her voice. That exquisite instrument that inspired countless “American Idol” finalists now makes her sound as if she’s suffering from kennel cough on self-help slow jams such as “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” and the R. Kelly-penned “I Look to You.” Even Houston’s best albums have been overproduced, airless affairs. But for all its songs of redemption, this one feels particularly soulless. In the autobiographical, Mary J. Blige-style ballad “Nothin’ But Love,” she shrugs off years of hardship with throwaway lines such as, “Ain’t going to regret anything I’ve done/ I just want to sing my song.” At least Alicia Keys manages to put Houston’s husky pipes to good use on the old-school roller-disco number “Million Dollar Bill,” but maybe that’s just because it’s a reminder of better, less scatological days.

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