Whitney Houston Hopes That You Will Always Love Her

noah | July 28, 2008 12:00 pm

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ARTIST: Whitney HoustonTITLE: “Like I Never Left (ft. Akon)”WEB DEBUT: July 26, 2008

ONE-LISTEN VERDICT: The question “how does one make Whitney Houston musically relevant to those who only know her from Being Bobby Brown?” has apparently been answered with one word: “Akon.” Over the weekend, a teaser single from her allegedly forthcoming album released, and the fact that it was assisted vocally by last year’s No. 1 collaborator brought up two troubling things: First, Whitney’s record company is apparently angling for the 44-year-old singer to go “young” for her forthcoming album; and second, it’s hard at times to tell the difference between the diva’s voice and that of her younger foil.

“Like I Never Left” was apparently semi-deliberately leaked as “incentive” for Houston to finish her album, and I hope that the leaking means there are better tracks in the offing. Because while “Left” is a Mimi-styled piece of featherweight pop that’s marked by Houston’s still-impeccable phrasing, there are a few obvious–and unfortunately–AutoTune punch-ins that overshadow a lot of her interpretation. If this mask-the-imperfections-at-any-cost route is the direction that the rest of Whitney’s album will go in, it’s a sorry denouement to what was at once one of the brightest careers in pop.

WHERE TO HEAR IT: There are a few contraband copies up on YouTube, like the below:

Whitney Houston ft. Akon – Like I Never Left [YouTube]Exclusive – Rosie O’Donnell’s New Show [Fox 411]