Monday, February 20, 2012

Whitney Houston--Riha's Top 10 Songs

Hey all,
I don't want to write a long post here, but I felt compelled to say a little something about Whitney Houston in light of her passing.
As a Whitney fan, I've gone through my ups and downs with the diva--from utter faith in her ability to regain her stardom to extreme disappointment in her downfall. I suppose all of that seems moot now, since I'll never know what could have come her way. She meant a lot to me musically--a rare voice that couldn't be touched in its heyday. From 1985-1994 her power was undeniable. Perhaps Mariah/Celine/other divas have held onto their voices for longer, but nobody could touch Whitney in her prime. I will miss her.I was actually in the process of reworking my Top 10 Whitney songs before she died, so now finishing seems appropriate. She had a lot of great songs and I agonized over this for a while.

10. I Look to You

Her last CD, I Look to You, may not have performed to expectations, but it was a solid effort. This song was a glimmer that old Whitney could still emerge someday. Although her live performances at this point were hit or miss, this one suggested she was on the road to recovery:

9. How Will I Know

Her first dance hit, of like four total dance hits (note--this is mathematically inaccurate). I'd post my favorite live performance (don't worry, this will become a trend soon), but since the music video is such a hoot I'll post that:

8. All the Man That I Need

Oddly, this song isn't regarded as one of her biggest hits, even though it's her fourth most successful song on the Billboard charts. WELL I'M BRINGING IT BACK. This video is of her rehearsing before her first ever appearance on SNL:

7. I Have Nothing

As much as American Idol contestants try, they'll never top the original. Hell, even Natalie Cole tried to sing this at the Oscars and couldn't hold a candle to the original Here's a stuning performance at the Billboard Music Awards:<

6. I Believe in You and Me

Granted, this might be getting a small boost because of its lyrical content in the wake of her death...but it's still amazing. I consider this her last really great vocal before things deteriorated. This live performance shows a few signs of cracks in the republic, but she's still totally killing it circa 1997 AND sits in a chair the whole time:

5. Saving All My Love for You

I love this song, despite its surprisingly salacious (well, salacious for Whitney) content. I'd be remiss if I didn't link to her singing this at the 1986 Grammy Awards...largely because she won a freaking Emmy for this live performance:

4. One Moment in Time

I don't care that it's kinda cheesy because the lyrics really hit home for me. Thinking of a struggling closeted Riha years ago, this song was one I listened to and made me feel like the intense sadness I was feeling would go away. This is my favorite live performance she's ever done:

3. My Love is Your Love

A surprisingly low key number, but I think her death has given the lyrics new emotional weight. I wanted to pick a good vocal of this I went with her Letterman appearance. Sadly, Bobbi Kristina didn't cameo, but she does so YouTube that business:

2. I Will Always Love You

Classic. Powerful. Undeniable greatness. There's an embarrassment of riches with live performances of this one, so I just picked a classic:

1. I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)

I love this song. Always have, always will. It's never ceased to be my favorite Whitney and I think it's how I would most like to remember her--happy, upbeat, and at the top of her vocal form:

And a few more live gems that aren't technically "Whitney" songs, but are worth watching...

Obviously her Star Spangled Banner:

BUT! If you want an extra dose of patriotism, check out her Battle Hymm of the Republic:

I know I posted I Have Nothing earlier, but here's a killer medley of Porgy and Bess/Dreamgirls (And I Am Telling You!!!)/The Bodyguard:

And although this was an album cut for Whitney, in my heart this is a duet (hence it not making my list). Here's When You Believe at the Oscars:

I feel like I could go on all night. But I'm going to leave it here.

Goodbye, Whitney.

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