Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Whit Na Si Whitney

As I type this, Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” is playing in the background.

Hers is not the original version of the song; that distinction goes to Dolly Parton. But for me Whitney’s is the definitive rendition of the song. She and her producer took a minor country hit song and transformed it into a scorching pillar of a ballad, an emotional tower of a song that, despite it being over-played and over-karaoke’d, still stands tall even today. When other singers do their cover of the song, they inevitably do Whitney’s soulful arrangement.

Here is the original video from the movie The Bodyguard.

Here is Jennifer Hudson’s tribute to Whitney during the 2012 Grammy Awards.

Even our own Charice had her turn with the song. While she definitely has the musical chops, her youth and lack of gravitas makes her rendition merely a showcase of skill. When she’s older and has experienced more hurt, she’ll be able to nail the song properly.

But for some people (including me), I think Amber’s rendition on Glee is more on the dot. Yes, she doesn’t stray too much from Whitney’s version, but hers was more heartfelt.

And as proof of the song’s power, watch the Dubai Fountain show featuring Whitney’s iconic song. There’s a certain amount of cheesiness, but despite that, you can’t take your eyes off the sight. The fountain is beautiful in and of itself, but it works even more so because of the song.

Whitney’s sudden departure highlights the steep decline she had in her career. I was not a big fan (although I must admit I like more songs of hers than Mariah’s), but I secretly hoped that she would pull out and manage to pull off a second act comeback, something much more than her attempt a few years ago. Sadly that hope died with her.

1 comment:

Gina Gao said...

I really like your blog. It's really interesting. I love Whitney Housten.