Whitney Houston – I Look To You (Release Date: 8/31/2009 – UK – 9/1/2009 – U.S.): You know what? I don’t think I own a single Whitney Houston album! Sad realization! I think I’m going to have to purchase a greatest hits/greatest remixes compilation one of these days. You might then ask WHY the new Whitney Houston album is something that has me excited. I think, more than anything, it’s the hype. Houston is one of the finest vocalists of our time, and despite all of her tabloid-troubles – this woman’s music is worth listening to. I wish Houston the best and I sincerely can’t wait to hear her new material.
Houston premiered the album first in London on July 14th, and more recently on July 21st in New York City. The most recent “listening party” took place at Lincoln Center and was hosted by RCA mogul, Clive Davis. The list of notable invitees included Swizz Beats, Alicia Keys, L.A. Reid, Monica, R. Kelly, Martha Stewart and many more! According to Billboard, nine songs were played for the guests starting with the Swizz Beatz produced “Million Dollar Bill.”
At her London listening party, Houston described the new album as a “labor of love,” admitting that she was ready to retire when Davis stepped in and told her that the “people want to hear you.” Davis is right, most definitely. This could be quite the comeback album. In order for this to happen, however, the album needs hit singles. I Look To You has been described as contemporary R&B which sort of worries me. To me “contemporary R&B” means BALLAD-OVERLOAD…but I guess that’s not necessarily true. There are both up-tempo and slow jamz on the album which is promising. Among the collaborators -Alicia Keys, Diane Warren, Stargate, R. Kelly and Akon. I’m pumped. – Via Billboard
“Million Dollar Bill”
“Nothin’ But Love”
“Call You Tonight”
“I Look To You”
“Like I Never Left” (featuring Akon)
“A Song For You”
“I Didn’t Know My Own Strength”
“For The Lovers”
“I Got You”
When I was in the UK a few years back, HMV actually had more than just one designated shelf for singles. I was perusing the ENTIRE row of singles and found Beverley Knight’s cover of the Janis Joplin classic, “Piece of My Heart.” I of course also adore her cover of Robyn’s “Keep This Fire Burning.” You can’t really go wrong with Beverley Knight. I’m looking forward to this new record – her first album post Parlophone-split. With her own label (Hurricane Records), Knight’s been hard at work with hitmakers including The Rural, Guy Chambers, DJ Munro and Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis (Janet Jackson). Sounds very promising indeed.
Artwork via Coverlandia
Queen Latifah – Persona (Release Date: 8/22/2009): As dated as Latifah’s ’94 single “U.N.I.T.Y.” might sound today, there’s no denying it was a solid track. It seems like her days of rapping/singing are but a distant memory, with Queen Latifah (Dana Owens) focusing on acting, singing jazz standards and being a CoverGirl spokes model. The time has come for a return to form! Now that we know Latifah can really SING, put those pipes to use on something NOW…something HIP…something radio stations will latch on to. New album Persona, might just be the ticket.
According to Latifah, “This album is definitely rooted in hip-hop, but there’s a lot of singing too. I’ve always sung on my records. I was always a person who mixed a lot of melody with rhymes.” I, for one, cannot WAIT to hear the Queen return to her hip-hop roots. Download the album’s lead single “Cue The Rain.” – Via Billboard
Check out Queen Latifah on the web: Official Site
Avril Lavigne – Untiled 4th Album (Release Date: November ??): I first heard Avril Lavigne’s breakout track “Complicated” online and immediately was drawn to it’s angsty chorus. It’s been a love/like/dislike relationship with Avril Lavigne ever since. Loved debut album Let Go; liked follow up Under My Skin; disliked The Best Damn Thing. According to Billboard, her new, as of yet, untitled record is going to be more raw and stripped down.
“A lot of the songs are mainly the acoustic and my vocal. It’s a lot different from anything I’ve done before,” Lavigne tells Billboard. “It’s not a pop rock record. This is more about emotion and feeling.”
Interesting. I could possibly dig this. In listening to her ballads and mid-tempo singles, you can tell Lavigne has the pipes. It’s when she starts jumping up and down and “rocking out” that her vocals get all wavery and inconsistent. After the album, which was considerably “poppier” than any of her previous efforts, Lavigne needs to take it down a notch.
Check out Avril Lavigne on the web: Official Site//MySpace//Imeem//YouTube