Sunday, February 12, 2012

I Will Always Love You

Another sad day in the always tough month of February with the death of Whitney Houston. I never thought too much about her music one way or the other, but I remember having debates over the song "I Will Always Love You." Dolly Parton sang the original, but Whitney's version became incredibly popular in the nineties. I always stuck by my feeling that Dolly's version was the best, but my friend Hank disagreed, much to my surprise. "I prefer Whitney's. It doesn't make you feel like taking out the razorblades." In this assessment, I had to agree. Whitney managed to take this terribly sad ballad to lost love and make it seem hopeful, rather than tragic. Dolly's verison evoked the trauma of always loving someone whereas Whitney's interpretation gave room for hope. Maybe it wasn't so awful to have that spot in your heart for someone. Dolly made it the listener feel as if she didn't have a choice -- that's the purity of Dolly. But Whitney makes the listener feel as if it's okay to always love someone, that it might be a good thing.

Now Whitney has passed, much earlier than anyone might have guessed, even with her array of personal demons. She started as a beautiful cheerleader type of singer, a singer who could just get so emotional, baby and lead us into happy worlds of pop joy. But as time passed, we saw Whitney struggle with the vices that grip so many -- drugs, alcohol, difficult love. We saw her transform into what the kids call a hot mess. And still, she was beautiful with the voice that nobody could quite replicate. Alas, rest in peace, dear Whitney, the neon-colored outfits that marked your best years, your prime, the one where you will always love and be loved.


JR's Thumbprints said...

You just convinced me to like Dolly's version more.

jodi said...

Michelle-Dolly's version was perfect for mourning a loss love. I tend to go for the hopeless, deeply dramatic version of loss. Especially when the 'love' was someone I dated for about 3 weeks! Great comparison! R.I.P. Whitney. xo

Charles Gramlich said...

Never really listened to Whitney Houston sing. Not my kind of music, although I agree that objectively she had a great voice

Memphis Steve said...

If it's any consolation, we still have the 2 female singers from Abba and they are still making albums. They could sing just as well, even if they sang a totally different style. And their ultra-clean living means they are unlikely to die of anything other than old age.

I really don't know what I'm saying here. I don't have an actual response. Pardon me. I thought my brain would kick in at some point if I just started typing, but it hasn't.

I once saw Dolly Parton sit on the edge of a bed with an old guitar and a coffee can and perform as well as if she were on stage with a full band. She's a true entertainer.

Anonymous said...

The Mariah Carey version is a whale of a song, if you know what it mean!--R. Dangerfile

leroy said...

"I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston will probably be one of the greatest love songs ever sung. Don't you just love this song? I surely do, and I join the millions of people who express their grief over the death of the great singer and diva, Whitney Houston. She surely blessed all of us with her powerful voice and her uncontested style. She has been "often imitated" but "never duplicated".

Even though I love this great song, there are many other songs by the great diva and actress that truly touch my heart. Notable among these is the song entitled "All At Once". This song puts you right into the recording studio with the artist. Once you listen to "All At Once", your appreciation for Ms. Houston will supercharge. To hear this great song and to see more of the works of this great artist, I would like to invite you to visit the following address: ​http://www.​​.