I never was a fan of Whitney Houston's music. I just don't go for over-the-top vocal gymnastics in a singer, as also purveyed by such as Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. Only occasionally has this approach thrilled me, Lorraine Ellison's rendition of Stay With Me being one example. I much prefer the deep soul delivery of the ilk of Jean Wells or the raw funk grittiness of a singer like Lyn Collins.
This said, I most certainly recognize Houston's immense talent. She had a quite incredible voice, and regardless of taste that's an indisputable fact. Like most people, my first exposure to her music was the powerhouse version of Dolly Parton's I Will Always Love You that made her a global megastar. Ten times out of ten I would opt for the delicacy of the original, but when hearing Houston's version for the first time, such was the power of that voice that it was like a gale force wind blasting from the speakers. By any measure, it truly is a remarkable performance.
But even as a non-fan, I find myself saddened by Houston's passing. She was just 48-years old, for Christ's sake - three years younger than me. I find it so depressing that the last known footage of this once stunningly beautiful woman, a goddess to many, shows her staggering out of a nightclub, a bewildered, shambolic, bloated mess. And thinking of that massive voice, then seeing the snippet of film of her final, chaotic, mumbling performance at the same club that night just breaks my heart. What a tragic figure she became; it's so very sad.
And now, as predictable as eggs is eggs, the corpse-raping and sickening exploitation has begun before her drug-ravaged body is even in the ground. Today I encountered a sorry 'story' claiming that Osama bin Laden had a huge crush on Houston. Is that supposed to be interesting? Really? And then there's Sony UK "accidentally" increasing the prices of her CDs; I've worked in the music industry my whole life and witnessed this kind of behaviour from record labels again and again upon the death of a singer of musician, so that they actually expect us to swallow that is simply incredible.
But, hey, death sells, and always will. I'm just really tired of the fact that it does.