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"Like I Never Left" (CD single)
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a subdued duet about a romantic reunion that never gets graphic -- despite Akon's involvement. The mature R&B sound might not instantly appeal to kids accustomed to singles loaded with musical fireworks, but it just might offer a good introduction for those who probably know Houston more from her off-stage exploits than her powerhouse voice.
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What's the story?
Five years. That's how long it's been since Whitney Houston graced the radio waves with a new release. Although she's managed to remain in the public eye due to her erratic behavior and ill-fated marriage to Bobby Brown, Houston's vocal strengths, for the most part, have been MIA for close to a decade. But there are signs the old Whitney is back. She's reunited with her music mentor Clive Davis and is slated to debut her comeback album later this year. For this single, Houston teams up with Akon for a duet about redemption, forgiveness, and getting back to where you want to be -- all appropriate themes for Ms. Houston.
Is it any good?
Unlike many artists who have to rely on lots of musical bells and whistles, Whitney Houston at her peak was able to carry a song with her dynamic voice alone. On this newest single, there are glimpses of this vocal power; however, Houston also shows off her musical maturity with a mellow single of controlled vocals that soothe the listener, rather than overwhelm with killer high notes. It doesn't have the driving beats, suggestive lyrics, or overly-dramatic vocals common to many of today's R&B hits, but it's easy on the ears. And, the redemptive theme is perfectly suited to Houston -- without being entirely autobiographical. Welcome back, Whitney, it's good to hear you again.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this single can help to market Houston's comeback. Why do you think one of Houston's new singles is titled "Like I Never Left"? Do you think it's a good idea for Houston to directly address her absence and comeback in her music? Will she be able to regain the popularity she experienced two decades ago, or have musical tastes changed?