Saturday, February 11, 2012

Whitney Houston: 1963-2012

Above all else, my condolences and positive thoughts go out to all those who loved the woman and/or her music.

As I've mentioned before, it's always the obituary version of an awkward silence when it it's time to eulogize someone who wasn't necessarily the star whose poster hung on your personal wall.  While I may never have bought one of Ms. Houston's albums, her meteoric rise to pop stardom coincided exactly with my immediately pre-adolescent discovery of pop music on the radio.  So omnipresent was she at the time that I don't really even need to own one of her records; the likes of "Saving All My Love for You", "I Wanna Dance with Somebody", "How Will I Know" and their ilk are etched note-for-note in my gray matter.  She certainly didn't fade after that initial burst, either: try - just try - to not hear that tonsil-busting held note in the chorus of "I Will Always Love You" now that I've mentioned it.  Impossible, isn't it?  Indeed, and also iconic.

Currently, there is no word on the cause of Ms. Houston's death, but I'm sure most of us jumped to the same conclusion upon hearing the news.  Perhaps we'll be proven wrong, but it's probably more likely that she, like Rick James before her, became a bit too aware that cocaine is a hell of a drug.  I can phrase it as cleverly/flippantly as I want, but the truth is that 48 is pretty young to have your ticket punched.  Self-destruction isn't always something you can just shut off because you want to, no matter what the Dr. Phils of this world claim.

One last thought: should Ms. Houston's demise prove to be self-induced, it will be no more trivial, and no less sad.  Rest in peace.

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