[From Fox 411]
Whitney Scratches Santana From New Album
The new Whitney Houston album, Just Whitney, was released in the U.K. last week. I picked up a copy and learned a couple of interesting things.
First: Houston was supposed to have a track called "Tell Me No" featuring Carlos Santana on guitar. Granted, the portion of guitar work was only at the end it wasn't a real collaboration. But both artists are on the same label, Arista, so it made sense to have them together.
However: The version of "Tell Me No" that made it onto the album has a different guitar solo. Veteran axeman Michael Thompson, who's very good nevertheless, has re-recorded the solo anyone who downloaded the album back on Oct. 21 when I first reported it was available has the Santana version.
Otherwise, all the other tracks on Just Whitney are exactly the same as the ones that could be downloaded. Even though Houston's Web site carries a warning that the downloadable album is not the finished one, it most certainly is.
This might mean that there were no other tracks to add or substitute and that's a little odd since there are only 11 numbers here. Just Whitney is a short album by any standards.
And just as this column reported a couple of weeks ago, at least two numbers are published by Arista chief's Hitco Music, which means L.A. Reid not only gets a slice of the pie from being the head of Arista, he also gets a taste of it because he's using musicians privately contracted to him at Hitco. That's sweet, isn't it?
On the liner notes of Just Whitney, Houston thanks a lot of people but she completely avoids mentioning her mentor of 17 years, Clive Davis.
Reid doesn't do much better. Even though he gave Houston a reported $100 million deal she writes: "To L.A. Reid I can't say it's been easy but what can I say? It's been good. Thanks for being there."
Just Whitney faces an uphill battle when it's finally released on Dec. 10 in the U.S. Already two of the tracks have failed to catch fire at radio stations. That leaves eight others since the ninth is a remix of "Whatchulookinat." One of the eight is a total dud that's the remake of "You Light Up My Life." Even Whitney's extraordinary voice cannot save this turkey.
Of the remaining seven songs, each of them is catchy and commercial but none of them is particularly special.
There are no power ballads like "I Will Always Love You" or "I Believe in You and Me." The songs are generic pop, and they are sung without much conviction. The drama of the great Whitney hit is gone, but that doesn't mean that "On My Own" or "Tell Me No" won't click anyway.
The U.K. version of Just Whitney includes a DVD of the "Whatchulookinat" video that wasn't released in the U.S., along with outtakes from the shoot. Houston looks thin and tired, which is no surprise. On her official Web site there's also a 10-second video that looks like it was shot more recently, of Whitney welcoming us to the site. She looks worse there and has trouble delivering the short message.
Houston's situation is quite distressing at this point. I can't believe there isn't anyone strong enough or with enough conviction in her entourage to stand up and say enough is enough. The easy life won't be so good when you can't sleep at night.
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