It took her seven years, but Whitney Houston is back, and if you believe the themes of her new album, I Look To You, she’s put her problems in her rear view mirror.

The first thing that should be talked about is her legendary voice. It’s not the same Whitney voice that you remember, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s consistent and while it doesn’t seem that she can hit those crazy notes of yesteryear, it’s still good and in this case, less can be more.

Whitty Hutton Wuld Tour
Back in the mid 90s on Martin Lawrence’s hit TV show, there was a story line in which he was jobless and decided to sell bootleg Whitney Houston t-shirts outside of her concert. His partner Brother Man couldn’t spell very well, so instead of saying, “Whitney Houston World Tour”, the shirt said, “Whitty Hutton Wuld Tour”. When Whitney Houston became the “crack is wack” Whitney, I just started calling her Whitty Hutton. It fit. The once singer of golden songs became a joke.

Whitney Houston's I Look To You

Whitney Houston's I Look To You

But if you believe the songs on her new album, that past is behind her. With songs like Nothin’ But Love, she forgives the haters, and even the people who tried to break her. The theme behind the song is that she’s so beyond her problems and thus, she has nothin’ but love for everyone. It’s not a very strong song and is plodding, but it provides a key point, and it’s that Whitney is trying to move forward. If only she tapped Heavy D for a fun sixteen bars.

On Salute, which is written and produced by R. Kelly, she even borrows from Todd Smith’s classic line. Over a piano bed, she calls herself a soldier girl for standing strong.

Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years.

Who is she saluting? She’s trying to be the bigger person in saluting who you have to believe is Bobby Brown, as a way to get over her past issues and struggles in life.

Is She Still Our Baby Tonight?
Back in the mid to late 80s, Whitney Houston was so charming. I remember seeing her on the Arsenio Hall show and she had swagger before I knew what swagger was. She could’ve been Miss America, a great actress, and the world’s biggest pop star all in one, and I wouldn’t have been surprised. She played nicely, and while you could tell she had a little bit of a chip on her shoulder, but she gave you that wink and nod and simply owned the stage. Bill Cosby even wanted her to play his oldest daughter Sondra on The Cosby Show. But during the 90s, she wasn’t that Whitney anymore.

Fast forward some 20 years and she’ll never be able to be America’s Sweetheart again. But can she get back some of what she lost?

Lead single Million Dollar Bill has the team of Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz behind it, yet it’s slightly underwhelming. It does put Whitney immediately in a positive light as there are only so many songs she can do with the comeback theme before people start rolling their eyes. It’s not as strong as the Akon flavored Like I Never Left, which except for the fact that it starts off annoyingly with Akon making sure we understand that it’s a Konvict record, is sweet and light. Call You Tonight is signature Starlight, the Spotlight (Jennifer Hudson), of the album.

Whitney performs Million Dollar Bill on Good Morning American

What’s The Big “Whitney” Song That We’ll All Remember This Album By?

Sadly, there isn’t one. My favorite song on the album is the aforementioned Akon duet. But I think she and Clive Davis meant for it to be the title track. I Look To You is the second single on the album and is written by R. Kelly. It’s a slowly laced piano ballad in which she continues with the comeback theme. However, the stronger ballad in my opinion is the Diane Warren/David Foster helmed I Didn’t Know My Own Strength. It showcases Whitney’s voice in a very vulnerable place. The song builds up dramatically and is fulfilling by the end.

Save for the terrible Euro-dance version of A Song For You, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Whitney’s comeback album. But there’s nothing on here that’s going to shock the world either. It should appease her current fanbase, which I guess is the goal. It’s a nice album, but one in which most music fans will be able to do without.