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 Everett True

She led a troubled life, apparently. Doesn’t everyone?

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I’ve always been indifferent to Whitney. I certainly never hated her, though. She’s not Thatcher.

Some folk say her voice was wonderful, unable to fault technically. I’m not a fan of prog rock. I couldn’t ever give a fuck about technical stuff when it comes to creating music, frankly. Far as I’m concerned, 99.9 per cent of the time she was as close to – and simultaneously as far off from – the mark as this:

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, do yourself a favour and listen to the original right now.

This one I like:

It would be odd if I didn’t, considering my fondness for Madonna songs of the time.

Like many other people I never forgave her for this:

As I say, though, I’m mostly indifferent. Her world and my world rarely collided. I didn’t like the way people who valued her seemed to value proficiency and musicianship over imagination, same way I’ve never been fond of drum solos. (I write “seemed”. I’m prepared to believe people might value her for other reasons.) Still. I always found Mariah Carey more objectionable. She spawned American Idol. I appreciate there’s also an argument to be had that Whitney spawned Mariah.

She also had this one as well. Unforgivable:

This was Michael Jackson bad. (When Michael was bad he was very very bad and when he was good he was genius.)

Mariah redeemed herself with an astonishing Christmas song. Whitney never quite did that … right?

Unforgivable, I say? Wait. Here are a couple of comments left on Facebook today:

Laura Moreau: 

Here’s something for her. Everett, if you want an actual fan of Whitney to write about her, I’d be honored: Couldn’t sleep. Oh God, Whitney. I spent last night surrounded by people who love you, singing your songs. So many perfect songs. Your Voice was the first one I remember feeling absolute wonder about: a person can DO That? Your power, awesome range, clarity, finesse, and still, through all that polish, the grit cut. Your heart, cut, and there for all to feel. Your Voice is the standard for me, the one I measure other voices against. But somehow today, all I hear in my head and teary heart is Billie singing ‘You Ain’t Gonna Bother Me No More’. My very soul goes out to you and your family, especially your daughter. Rest In Peace, Whitney. I simply cannot believe you are gone.

White Hotel:

Her voice was a completely indecent joy. Her tone alone, the way it pulled at her, pulled out of her, left her sweating. She was never the most polished performer, anyone who saw her live could tell you; she let her voice be the monster it was and she let it take her over. I’d sit up late, night after night, jet lagged or insomniac, hunting down version after version of ‘All The Man I Need’, just to see her contain that monster, and then let it go.

Hmm. I find it very hard to get past the production – and bloody saxophone!  – on this one, but I begin to appreciate what White Hotel is talking about. If this song had a different polish and was from the 60s, or 70s, there’s every chance I’d like it. A whole lot.

This is the Internet. I’m going to steal. The following is taken from Neil Kulkarni’s page on Facebook.

Neil Kulkarni: 

I shan’t pretend I was a fan – but this record was fucking astonishing, and hinted at a possible way for Whitney to make records that suited HER rather than her persona. Very sad to hear we won’t ever get to hear them. RIP Whitney.

Neil Kulkarni:

This record was congruent with a lot of Timbaland productions that were similiarly precise and fierce, and the lyrics to this are just great: really suggested that she’d found a way to sing songs she could get her teeth into, songs that were grown up and that she didn’t have to still be ‘america’s sweetheart’ to perform. Sadly unfollowed really in the subsequent decade, and now, s’too late. S’a shitty business.

She wrote this herself as well, and that’s why it seems to have that little bit of grit: amazing Rodney Jerkins production as well.

Lucy Cage:

Just too heartbreaking that her story is over, book closed, no possibility of better endings. Same as with Amy W last year. I hate the narrative of apparent inevitability that will get spun out from now on.

Neil Kulkarni:

If a woman is photographed drunk at any point, the narrative becomes one of inevitability, then smug satisfaction that things have played out accordingly.

Related posts: Hello from Olympia, WA – 6: Why I Cried when Whitney Died

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