Video Vault, Episode 2: Whitney Houston

Welcome back for the second installment of our new weekly series, in which the 33 1/3 staff take turns picking one of our favorite videos and offering it up for your Friday viewing pleasure.

This week, editorial assistant Kaitlin Fontana takes a turn.

I’m an unabashed rock ‘n’ roll fan, as one is pretty much consigned to be when one is from a small town in Western Canada. From toddler to teen I subsisted on a diet made up of equal parts Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Springsteen (with the odd Blink-182 song thrown in; it was the 90s and I was a teenager, after all). It’s not until I got into my 20s that I started to appreciate R&B, and further, the voices that make the genre. And as far as voices go, there are few who can match the perfect, belting bombast of Whitney Houston.

Whitney would have been 50 today, and in her honor I’d like to share my favorite of her songs, 1985’s  “How Will I Know?” First written for Janet Jackson (she passed on it) the song, to me, encompasses everything I love about 80s R&B: the cheesy synths, the overproduced “funkiness,” all of it. Thematically, it’s also really interesting–there aren’t any other pop songs I can think of that delve into the uncertainty and self-consciousness of love in such a specific way. How will you know when he really loves you? Good question, Whitney. I’m still not sure. Plus, this video, guys! The backdrops!  The hair! The choir wearing one giant robe! It’s so 80s.

But–and it’s a big but–it’s easy to lose Whitney’s voice in all of this. And so, after swinging over to VEVO for the official video (embed verboten; I blame Clive Davis), I urge you take a moment to listen to the isolated vocal track below. More of an audio vault, I suppose, but try not to be moved. Happy Birthday, Ms. Houston. You are missed.


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