Sunday, February 12, 2012

Greatest Love of All

And so passes Whitney Houston. It is a shame. Such an amazingly talented woman, with what should've been so much life still ahead of her. Whatever the cause of death is to be determined, 48 years seems hardly enough time. It was enough time for Whitney to make an impact on the world, no doubt, but it was not enough time for her to see her daughter grow up and be an adult and for Whitney to have grandchildren who would also grow up and for her to enjoy watching that happen. It was not enough time to completely tackle her addictions and enjoy what could've been decades of life lived without their terrible influence. As someone who brought so much joy to millions of people with her music, you'd wish for her that personal joy of love and peace in her life.

Growing up in the height of Whitney's musical power really left an impression on a generation of artists, myself included. What young child couldn't be impacted by The Greatest Love of All, or One Moment In  Time? They are such rousing anthems. I remember singing them in the car with my sister whenever my mom drove us anywhere. I feel like people my age know what I'm talking about. Didn't those songs make you want to be an artist? Didn't they make you want to be an Olympian? Yes on both counts for me. I truly believe she inspired kids to pursue those dreams. That her songs gave people a sense of confidence in themselves they might not have otherwise had starting out. Thank you for putting your incredibly voice behind those necessary words, Whitney.

Her voice was so soulful and it just blasted off into the heavens. There's a reason her Star-Spangled Banner performance is the best. Beyond the stellar vocals, it came from a place that meant something and it touches a place inside you that stirs that meaning as well. Watch any of her live performances back on youtube this week (and trust, there are many) and you'll still have the goosebumps you did the first time you heard.

Whitney could sing joyful dance songs, the saddest of love songs, Gospel music, inspirational anthems. It was all heartfelt. Everyone knows that the last 10 years or so were rough for her personally. The drugs and the crazy lifestyle and the "Being Bobby Brown" ridiculousness turned her into a public caricature of herself and left her with a vocal instrument that could not generate the same power she had in the 80's and 90's. Even the most powerful talents among us are still wrapped in a very human and fragile body. And now she's gone. I appreciate the musical impact she had on the world. I'm very sad for her family. During this difficult time of mourning, may they find their strength in love.

Here are some of my favorite Whitney songs and videos.

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