Too soon?

17 02 2012

There’s a risk of speaking ill of the dead.  Someone is bound to be offended and, quite often, the person doing the talking is being tasteless to some degree.  I won’t comment on her personal struggles other than to say I find them sad.  I sympathize with more than despise self-destructive people.

Despite having an amazing voice, Whitney Houston’s music was never very good.   The songs that were written for her were trite and formulaic.  She had the voice but not the soul of a real soul (or R&B) singer.  Maybe that’s not fair.  Maybe she could’ve channeled her personal struggles into the creation of very meaningful, very personal songs.  Instead, she opted for the easy money of being a hit machine.

This sounds nasty, but I’m really not slamming Ms. Houston.  I’m railing that her vocal talent was not used to its fullest potential.  She could’ve and should’ve been her generation’s Aretha Franklin.  Instead, she was something closer to a glamorous Janet Jackson (with an amazing voice and no dance moves.)

It’s too bad she has passed on.  Her death should be mourned — at least to the extent that any pop star is mourned.  It will be interesting to see what happens with her most recent major work, the remake of the movie Sparkle, much of which was shot here in Detroit.  I never saw the original, but it sounds like Dreamgirls.  Let’s hope it’s every bit as good of a film as Whitney was as a vocalist.

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