Go ahead, be shocked I’m posting this.
Relax, I am not about to say anything mean.
To die at 48, whatever the cause… shit, that sucks. People will mock her for the drugs, and that’s weak. Addicts are addicts. Easy to judge when it isn’t you.
So, why do I comment on Whitney’s passing? I probably haven’t heard one of her songs since I got a couple of her albums from the Columbia House tape club when I was ten years old. I mean, one of my favourite memories of her music is Eddie Murphy singing The Greatest Love Of All, as Sexual Chocolate, in Coming To America. I’m not exactly about to wax poetic, here.
But what I will lament is the passing of her singular talent. That Voice! My goodness, she was truly a siren of song. And what makes me saddest about her passing is her not realizing my one great hope for her: that one day she would get off the drugs enough that she could make a proper blues/soul record. Think about it. If she had stopped singing that Lite FM pop pap love crap and made a balls-out soul record like Aretha Franklin or Bettye LaVette, in the old school vein, she would have taken over the world for good.
That Voice was built for that kind of music (though she’d have been welcome to leave out the singing so high that only dogs can hear her). And while some may argue that her earlier work was kinda sorta aimed at that, I’d argue not. Not fully. Not whole-heartedly. Not sweaty-smoky-barroom on a bottle a day while gospel-repenting on Sunday blues and soul like it ought to have been.
Anyway. I think the same thing about Mariah Carey (not that I wish she was dead too, I don’t). But she should also be doing that music for sure, not that r&b plastic stuff.
And here we are, not yet even over the recent passing of Etta James.