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“Celebrate,” the last song Whitney Houston recorded before her death in February, surfaced today on Ryan Seacrest's morning radio show. The tune, produced by R. Kelly for the movie “Sparkle,” features Houston singing with Jordin Sparks, who plays her daughter in the remake of the 1976 film.
While the voice is definitely recognizable as Houston, her voice is a dusky shell of its former self, but it's still good to hear her. She leaves all the heavy lifting that used to come to her so effortlessly to Sparks, especially at the end when Sparks is cooing and soaring. (See our on-set interview with Sparks here).
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The mid-tempo song is a sweet throwback to the Supremes era (which makes sense given that the movie is about girl groups). It opens with Houston singing about how everybody is so uptight, but “finally things are looking up/the sun has chased all the rain away/no more obstacles in our way.” Sad that it wasn’t true in her real life, isn’t it.
In the choruses, she’s relatively muted playing second fiddle to Sparks or her voice is heavily doubled for the most part.
At the very end, Sparks adds, in an obvious postmortem tribute to Houston, “We love you Whitney.”
The movie, which also features Cee Lo Green, opens Aug. 17.
What do you think of "Celebrate?"