Whitney Houston — “I Have Nothing”
(from The Bodyguard [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]) — I Have Nothing - The Bodyguard (Original Soundtrack Album)

Whitney Houston — “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”
(from Whitney) — I Wanna Dance With Somebody - Whitney

So sorry for the Buzz’s unplanned hiatus over the past couple of weeks; I have been dealing with a massive home improvement project that has consumed what has felt like every waking moment of the past number of days, and am just now getting my head back above water. I fully intended to spend last night writing up my annual Grammy predictions, but that all fell apart with the tragic announcement that the incredible Whitney Houston has passed on from this plane. I’m still a bit speechless and dumbstruck by the enormity of this news — and even though Sherry Ann used to endlessly mock me for my devotion to her stellar and staggering music, she very sweetly texted me last night to make sure I was okay. All I can say is that my love for this wondrous woman’s brilliant body of work is well-documented on this very website — indeed, I’ll be moving the playlist I wrote in honor of Whitney in 2009 to celebrate the release of her most recent studio album back to the front page later this afternoon, as a tribute (however meek) to the music that has served on the frontlines of the soundtrack of my entire life — and even though I am utterly devastated by the unbearable notion that we’ve likely already heard all we ever will from her (though you can bet that, starting first thing this morning, the Arista vaults will be combed from top to bottom for any and every b-side, outtake, and demo the gal ever laid down on tape), I find more than a little comfort in the fact that her work will stand for eternity, and that the best of those tremendous tunes will still be a source of delight and debate a century from now. (“I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” in particular, turns twenty-five years old this summer, and yet remains, in its own way, as perfect and as timeless a pop song as “Billie Jean,” as “Time After Time,” as “Faith,” as “Bye, Bye, Bye” or “Babylon.” The deceptively innocent passion seeping through the crystal-clear high notes, the ebullient joy springing forth from that iconic nervous chuckle… Christ, where do broken hearts go, indeed.) (As for those aforementioned Grammys, which figure to be the most suspense-free awards ceremony in recent memory, look for it to be a coronation night for Adele, who would appear to be the shoo-in to end all shoo-ins for Album, Record, and Song of the Year. As for Best New Artist, I smell a hot race between The Band Perry and Bon Iver, and since the latter also managed to break into most of the other major categories, my guess is that they’ll nose ahead in a photo finish.)

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