WHITNEY HOUSTON Just Whitney (BMG) Rating: N Rating: N
Rail-thin and cracking up, Whitney Houston has not had a good past few years. Her storied breakdowns, public freak-outs, drug busts and removal from the Oscars for allegedly insane behaviour were enough to make Mariah's meltdown seem like a simple mood swing. You can understand Houston wanting to refocus attention on her music, but pretending it's 1986 all over again and making a Lionel Ritchie album probably isn't the best way to assure people of her sanity. The sallow disco funk and cheap synth strings are bad enough, but it's the paranoid accusations about "the man" trying to take her down and a peculiar flaunting of Bobby Brown as her rock of stability that make Just Whitney such an embarrassment. If her big comeback was shouted out in a foghorn voice, it might sound more impressive, but even Houston's bellow sounds reedy and weak. When you're out-sung by Tweet, you know it's over.