Sunday, February 12, 2012
The Hit Parade
As anyone who has paid any attention to the world recently, Whitney Houston was pronounced dead about 20 hours ago. The details of her death, the where, the when, the how, are unknown. When "I Will Always Love You" was number#1 for something approximating a millenia in 1992, the question was asked how it felt to have been denied a number#1 in the British Pop Charts. "Whitney Houston doesn't count, so we're Number 1."
Irrespective of the facts of the death, and the undoubted personal tragedies within this, Whitney Houston was not the greatest singer the world has ever seen. Her performances may have been technically correct, her range wide, her voice strong. But when she sang those songs, I never believed her. I never thought she meant it. The words she sang were just phrases, and to my ears, she played at these songs. The stories these songs told were lies to my ears. "I Will Always Love You" became a parody, a hollow imitation of what it meant : a song of regret and rememberance became a tribute to the strength of a love that would endure anything. The fact that the song was a self-deluded stalkers anthem, and the meaning of the song, was obscured in a pause and a deep hit of a snare drum and a voice belting out with the power of a jet engine.
AND! I! WILL! ALWAYS! LOVE YOU!
Good god girl. Give those histronics a break. These little in the way of genuine emotion in her work, just gymnastics and overwrought imitations of emotion. No restraint, all for effect. It's bad acting, not sincerity. It's not right. It's not OK. It was a trick, not a treat. If technical skill was all you needed, then the best writers in the world are the vebose, veaxtious, vindictive vignettes of versimilitude : and not those that communicate ideas and emotions.
Houston was a brilliant singer ; but she was a technician. And art is not a technical skill, but an emotional one, that communicates emotions and ideas between people. Whitney Houston may have been a great singer, but she was no artist. And she never gave the impression she wanted to be one. She have the impression that all she ever wanted was to be a great singer : and mistook saying something with having something worth saying.
Perhaps she summed it best in an interview : "First of all, let's get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let's get that straight. Okay? We don't do crack. We don't do that. Crack is wack.""
What a fucking waste of talent. The tragedy is that she has a daughter who will grow up without a mother. And that is something that should never happen.