Fans will get their Whitney a little earlier than planned for one reason and one reason only: The Grammy Awards.
"I Look to You" will now come out on Aug. 31, instead of the originally slated Sept.
This means the CD will be in stores on a Monday instead of the standard release date of Tuesday. That's because the cut-off for Grammy eligibility is Aug. 31 and the all-out assault that is the marketing plan for Houston's first album of new material in seven years includes a batch of Grammy nominations. (The cycle is shorter by one month this year because the Grammys will air on Jan. 31, 2010, four weeks earlier than usual).
In the meantime, the title track is available for streaming and as a free download until July 31, via www.whitneyhouston.com. Stream the track below.
The tune is a stripped-down ballad that we'd call a power ballad if there were any "power" behind it. Written by R. Kelly, the turgid song is a testament to looking upward when troubles surround us. Houston has always testified about her strong religious faith so the subject matter rings true, especially given her turbulent past.
It's clear that the objective was to showcase Houston's beautiful voice in isolation instead of surrounding it with lush orchestration, but the song demands a grander production. And quite frankly, her voice sounds like she's pushing as hard as she can. In the past, such effort would have practically blown out our speakers given the strength of her voice.
Not this time. The simple fact is people want to know that Houston can still belt out a song and there's no evidence of that on this track. Yes, she sounds better than 99% of the singers out there, but the mystery remains is she intentionally holding back or is this today's Houston? We won't know for sure until Aug. 31.