Whitney Houston

Just Whitney

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The four-year wait between 2002's Just Whitney and her previous album, 1998's My Love Is Your Love, was half that between that record and its predecessor, 1990's I'm Your Baby Tonight; Whitney retreated from the spotlight with this album, and as she canceled concerts, scrapped albums, and pulled out of public appearances, rumors swirled that she and husband Bobby Brown were dangerously addicted to drugs. Following a disastrous performance at the September 2001 Michael Jackson tribute concert, where she looked as if she had already wasted away, the chattering reached a fever pitch and she needed to restore her reputation -- hence the title of Just Whitney: an assertion that she's returning to her basics. This self-styled comeback album is a 40-minute set of contemporary soul. Whitney is in fine voice she's fortunate enough to have Babyface for four productions, three of which are among the highlights of the album. Though Missy Elliott produces a track here, this is nowhere near as concerned with hip production as My Love is Your Love was, and who can blame her? [Also available with a bonus DVD.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi