Picks and Pans Review: Whitney

updated 06/29/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/29/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Whitney Houston

Relax, everybody. The first record was no fluke. You have to go back to Sinatra and Streisand to find comparisons for a pop singer emerging so young with such rare talent and style. Houston, 23, sounds as spirited and warm as she did on her first album two years ago, and is confident enough now to let her voice range a little. Listen to the way she runs off with the last note of Where You Are for instance, turning it and exploring it like someone looking at a fascinating diamond. This album was handled by four producers, and it has a little something for everyone: dance tunes, ballads, Latin touches, even a duet between Houston and her mother, Cissy, on I Know Him So Well. Partly because the Tim Rice/Benny Andersson/Bjorn Ulvaeus song has some depth and partly because of the unusual mother-daughter combination lamenting about their experiences with men, it is the LP's most affecting song. Preston Glass's jaunty Love Is a Contact Sport and the Frank Wildborn/Chuck Jackson ballad Where Do Broken Hearts Go have some substance too. There are, however, a lot of nondescript songs on the album. Houston's voice and style can add a lot of life even to a mediocre tune—she could sing her bank books, if she had the time, and make them musical. But it would be easy to argue that adding a Stevie Wonder tune, or something from Ellington or Mercer, say, would have made this LP something more of an event. Not to complain too much. As it is, the album is merely a thoroughgoing delight. (Arista)

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