Our generation has its own set of sentiments. Rebelling against our parents’ petty focus on peace, love, and equality we’ve shifted to evaluating the real issues at hand: how to get into, out of, and over relationships. It seems like everything else is being handled especially considering it’s now very easy to "go green" and things are looking good for Obama. Dating it is.
With this as our focus we need a siren of song whose words cut to the core of our modern, relationship struggles. One who is able to take complex issues and break them down into focused lyrics with clever rhymes. Someone who is successful and popular but has been down that winding, pot-hole-filled road we're stuck on once or twice before. I think we can all agree that the answer is clear.
Blessed with the pipes of an angel, she couldn’t help but rise to fame. Throughout her years reining over the pop charts she gifted us some of the most poignant lines of our time. It is this ability to sing for us what we didn’t even know we were feeling that makes Houston our Dylan. The examples are of course countless, but a few shining moments of song really speak to the power of her messages – messages that really are the battle cries of our times.
From gay-bar fave “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” comes the words that finally capture the feeling that seeps in while you’re pre-gaming in your bedroom:
- Ive done alright up till now / Its the light of day that shows me how / And when the night falls our loneliness calls
When the night falls – our loneliness calls. Chills.
Within that same song is her no-holds-bar confession about where she’s been and what she really wants out of love:
- Ive been in love and lost my senses / Spinning through the town / Soon or later the fever ends / And I wind up feeling down / I need a man who'll take a chance / On a love that burns hot enough to last
I need that man too Whitney. Only I wasn’t woman enough to admit it, in rhyme.
In the classic “How Will I Know?” (if only Dylan could have been so direct) she admits that sometimes it’s all beyond our control:
- There’s a boy I know / he’s the one I dream of / Looks into my eyes / takes me to the clouds above / Ooh I lose control / cant seem to get enough
But still hones in on the question at hand with naked vulnerability:
- How will I know if he really loves me (arguably the question of our time)
- I say a prayer with every heart beat (not afraid to invoke the Lord)
- I fall in love whenever we meet (Amen…)
- I’m asking you what you know about these things (conducting research, brilliant)
- How will I know if he’s thinking of me (she knows love is in the details)
- I try to phone but I’m too shy, cant speak (admitting her faults)
- Falling in love is all bitter sweet (it is Whit, it really is)
- This love is strong why do I feel weak (because you smoke crack)
And really no song goes by without that same kind of honesty:
From “So Emotional”
- I remember the way that we touched / I wish I didn’t like it so much / I get so emotional, baby / Every time I think of you / I get so emotional, baby / Ain’t it shocking what love can do
Shocks me every time.
Within the title track from her hit feature film (is there anything she can’t do?) Waiting to Exhale:
- Everyone falls in love sometime / Sometimes it's wrong, and sometimes it's right / For every win, someone must fail / But there comes a point when / When we exhale (yeah, yeah, say shoop)
She does not mince words. Nor is she afraid to address the more taboo issues of the times.
- A few stolen moments is all that we share / You've got your family, and they need you there / Though I've tried to resist, being last on your list / But no other man's gonna do / So I'm saving all my love for you
- Friday night you and your boys went out to eat / Then they hung out, but you came home around three / Now if six of ya'll went out / Then four of you were really cheeeap / 'Cause only two of you had dinner / I found your credit card receeeipt / It's not right / But it's okay / I'm gonna make it anyway
She is as smart as she is talented.
Of course none of these hold a candle to the song that so captures the spirit of our time that it may as well be re-packaged and delivered as Obama’s inaugural address:
- I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadow / If I fail, if I succeed / At least I'll live as I believe / No matter what they take from me / They can't take away my dignity / Because the greatest love of all / Is happening to me / I found the greatest love of all / Inside of me / The greatest love of all / Is easy to achieve / Learning to love yourself / It is the greatest love of all
An anthem if there ever was one...
She may have smoked crack, screwed Clive Davis and picked Bobby Brown (still!), but the fact clearly remains: Whitney Houston is our poet laureate.
FYI, the runner up was Matchbox 20. Look into it. They’re stuff is really quite moving.