Review Roundup: Whitney Houston – ‘I Look to You’

I Look to You

Whitney Houston’s first album in seven years, I Look to You, arrives on Monday. Has the comeback queen recaptured her glory days? Find out below.

Rolling Stone: [I Look to You] is a modern soul record, a collection of sleek, often spunky, love songs that aim at something more immediate and tangible than nostalgia or catharsis: Houston wants back in the diva stakes. 3.5 out of 5

Entertainment Weekly: I Look to You, Whitney Houston’s first album in seven years, doesn’t pretend to offer the unblemished 21-year-old we met on her smash 1985 debut, but it never truly lets listeners inside the heart and head of the woman she is today. B-

The New York Times: I Look to You, with Ms. Houston’s longtime mentor Clive Davis as her co-producer, is more subdued, canny, and cautious. She’s tentatively climbing back into the pop machinery, no longer invincible but showing a diva’s determination.

Los Angeles Times: The best giant ballad is the Warren-penned, David Foster-produced “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength,” an exhibition of battle scars that’s richer for the weary, injury-protecting quality of Houston’s vocal. If she does earn the Grammy she’s virtually been promised for a song from this set, it should be for this one. 3 out of 5

USA Today: Returning to her classic sound, Houston should have no trouble reconnecting with those longtime fans who will always love her. Whether her more contemporary collaborators can help her engage a new generation of fans and radio programmers remains to be seen. 3.5 out of 4

Newsday: “Salute” is what Houston sounds like when she’s connected to a song and firing on all cylinders. It’s imaginative and dramatic and, yeah, it has an air of invincibility. It’s also the kind of song that her true “comeback” album will be built around. I Look to You isn’t it.

Chicago Tribune: Despite the machinations of top-tier producers and songwriters such as R. Kelly, Diane Warren, Akon, Stargate, and David Foster, nothing else feels quite as elegantly ebullient. Nor does she ever cut loose; at times it feels as though Houston is just a pretty ornament on her producers’ tracks. 2 out of 4

Boston Herald: In the end, Houston’s sixth album is as much about forward strides as limitations. While it unites a collection of power players to breathe new life into her career—and proves that Houston is still capable of having a career—many of the songs shun urgency and power in favor of safety. B

Chicago Sun-Times: The first thing that strikes you when listening to I Look to You is that despite all of those stylistically diverse egos in the kitchen, I Look to You doesn’t sound overcooked at all: The sound throughout is clean, modern, unfettered and consistently designed to keep the focus on Houston’s singing, whether it’s on the moderately bouncing club tracks or the requisite ballads.
3 out of 4

Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Million Dollar Bill,” “Call You Tonight,” “Worth It,” “Salute”

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29 Comments

  1. gee man

    I think critics are pretty much on point with the reviews. I feel like the album will serve its purpose, imo by no means this is a classic. But more of a decent collection.

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  2. Jen

    Too early to say what will or won’t be a classic. Rolling stone gave Mimi a 2/5 and that was one of her best albums.

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  3. Catie

    I think the reviews are stating what we as listeners already know. We know that Whitney’s voice isn’t what it used to be but she can still sing and come out with decent songs. All i know is that i’m going out Monday to get the album.

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  4. the truth

    Critics always do the yapping but few to none have ever been through the artistry grind themselves. They slay the final product but never have been involved in the development process. However, most reviews hit points the listeners already know. We get her voice aint the BG from 20 freakin yrs ago but Miley, Gaga, and Beyonce aint all that now and see what voices they have in 20yrs. Regardless, whitney SELLS! Her stats speaks for itself. Bottom line money talks and despite of the troubles she’s had, people love this troubled diva. Inside she is a good person and america loves a comeback story. She may not be in her prime but still can sing circles over 95% of lip syncers today. Case in point ILTY is #1 album on amazon (usa) and other countries, number #1 iTunes in several european countries and several of her songs are already charting in top 100 itunes around the world. If this is a flop I hesitate to see what a hit maker looks like. LOL.

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  5. Demetrius

    I really like the CD and we all know that her voice is not the same but she still sounds good to me and i will be outside the doors of best buy to get her CD. Still Love you Whitney!!!

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  6. Jay

    I love Whitney, and I’m ready to pay like hundreds bucks to see her on tour, she’s Whitney, to me she’s just like a Michael Jackson or a Madonna, a pure legend, and the album is fire and will make history

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  7. Jay

    and one more thing : BEST COMEBACK SINCE JESUS !

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  8. Jen

    Agree with everything you said “the truth” and yes Demetrius I will be buying 3 more albums at Best Buy, Target and FYE…meh Wal-Mart screwed up I’m not giving them any of my money.

    People need to appreciate Whitney for who she is now. She’s done all the showboating and vocal soaring in her past and sacrificed her voice for many years in order to set standards for the majority of female singers today. Enjoy the essence and beauty of her music. I think this is her most personal, emotional yet vulnerable album to date.

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  9. jr

    I completely agree with the majority of the reviews. Theres alot of hating going on about WHITNEY HOUSTON, but remember this a truly gifted singer who can touch hearts regardless of vocal prawless. Every fan should got out and get a copy r two to show this industry that we know real talent and true artistry. Lets make this comeback a moment in history!!!! 8.31.09 I LOOK TO YOU

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  10. Baleia

    Whitney is a legend! She has a michael jackson thing – originality! She simply kills simple songs like worth it and turnrd into a classic!
    Whitney will seel well and stay at the top this time forever!

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  11. Jerome

    Love this cd! She has instantly reminded us that we have been listening to mostly crap since she has been absent. No wailing or over-singing. She could have given us all that and that would have truly been the definition of selling out. (Other divas should take note) By not trying to prove anything she actually proved more. Just give us good music that gets better with each listen. That is what we need and got. Couldn’t have asked for more.

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  12. Giselle

    The critics were right on point I think, with an exception of a few. I think everyone is looking for songs like “I Will Always Love You” and we all know that isn’t gonna happen. In this day and age you have to follow what’s out there but be creative for it to work, and I think she did that with this album. It will do well, I am sure.

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  13. Lola McCreary

    Whitney I thank god for you and you have fought a hard life and I have seen many peoples in my life for where you have been and came back i know god is with you all the way ever let him go and stomp o the devil every chance you can get there were 11 of brothers and sisters that I have and I am the only one that never let drugs get me and my kids keep me going and the grandkids the same way I love kids a lot and now it is harder for kids and i fight toteach them wright from wrong God Bless Mrs Lola McCreary

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  14. Sean

    I think this is actually a great album, standout tracks are Million Dollar Bill, Call You Tonight, For the Lovers, Salute and Nothing But Love. Whitney’s voice is by no means what it was in it’s heyday but neither is Mariahs. I was hoping for the restrained but still beautiful voice she had on My Love is Your Love but instead we have a slightly raspier yet still soulful voice. She is probably on the level vocally of an Alicia Keys right now which is still better than almost everyone else in the business and people are far more critical since she once possessed the most technically perfect set of pipes of all time. I highly suggest everyone gives this album a chance and goes in with an open mind, it’s a solid composition and don’t expect it to be 1992 all over again. Additionally I think it’s ridiculous that Million Dollar Bill is receiving no radio play when it’s a fantastic up-beat single (better than anything Rihanna or even Beyonce has done lately). It comes down to the fact that Whitney is an over 40 diva. Tell the CEO of Clear Channel Radio (company that owns KISS FM and many other stations) to stop being ageist and start playing Whitney, Madonna, Mariah and Janet again. Who cares if they’re over 40, the still make better music then all their wannabe followers.

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  15. solz

    i love this album,and if you are a whitney fan u will definatley love it i promise,go get it…we all know her voice isn’t as it used to be,but trust me it’s still far better than a lot out there at the moment…

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  16. MS. Vicki

    I love “I Look to You” Whitney is older now, has rode the tide of dispair and has come back like a trooper. “Salute” and “I didn’t Know my Own Strength” should be the banner song for every woman and man who have seen the bottom and rose up again. Of course she isn’t going to sound 19 because she isn’t. Everyones voice matures and hers has done a stupendous job. WELCOME HOME WHITNEY!! WE MISSED YOU BIG TIME AND LOVE YOU EVEN MORE!!!!

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  17. twitter.com/MrToxicAJ

    How can Rolling Stone give I Look To You a higher grade than The Emancipation Of Mimi when Mariah’s album was clearly better? I enjoyed Whitney’s album but not as much as The Emancipation Of Mimi.

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  18. true grit

    When I listen to music, I listen for what it is.. does it matter what the artist did in their personal lives? Is it anyone’s business for that matter. True, celebrity is a “public” business and privacy is hard sought. Still I believe if artistry is a person’s profession then let that be the judge just like your profession is the measure of your ability not what mistakes you made in your personal life. All the critics have pointed out fallacies in whitney life and what she once was and not what she can and still be. Yet they fail to see what skeletons lie in their own back yard. How many have known someone who was an addict if not an addict themselves; how many have been physically or mentally abused; how many have had cheating spouses; how many have hung around the wrong the wrong people and made wrong decisions from poor influences? None of us can go unscathed when judged against purity and neither can whitney. Everyone needs to get over it and not hold some grudge as if her life was yours to lead. A comeback entails a few factors – 1) that your apolegetically humble 2) that you realize and admit your mistakes 3) redeemed yourself through beliefs of not repeating the same mistakes twice. Whitney is going through that process and let not one of us think we stand above unless you walked in her shoes. Welcome back whitney. Not everyone of us has grudges when it’s not even our life.

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  19. gee man

    TEOM received 2.5/5 from R.S. magazine

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  20. Jay

    Whitney is back!!! She looks great and sounds amazing too! Love the album! Like I Never Left, Nothin’ But Love, For the Lovers and Million Dollar Bill are some of my favorites!

    @ Jay above I love the album, but since Jesus, REALLY!?!? That’s goin a lil far. lol

    Any way, great comeback album Whitney!!!

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  21. Sugar Rush

    Welcome back Whitney!!! we missed you..

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  22. Marion

    Her voice is shot.

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  23. lorenzo

    I LOOK TO YOU will be the biggest flop of the history of comeback. sorry whitney but you should have the control of everything with your album, not clive davis. and with akon to my akin…

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  24. stacey

    LOL I am just finding out Whitney Houston has an album coming out!?!

    WTF

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  25. Daniel

    Whitney Houston’s music taught me and countless others how to sing. I am indebted to her and have no choice but to support her and buy her music. Plus, I’m really glad she’s doing so well. Love you Whitney and God Bless.

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  26. Reese

    I dont give a f**k what reviewers or the haters say. Do you know how FANTATSIC it is to have a new Whitney Houston CD!!!!Her voice is beautiful and so is she. I am listening to it now and all the tracks are HOT. To anybody who wants to put this goddess down I say this: I ain’t got nothing but love for you. Ha ha

    I Love you Whitney

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  27. ANDREA

    WHITNEY HOUSTON I’M SO HAPPY YOUR BACK I LOVE YOUR MUSIC. I CAN’T WAIT TO GO AND GET THAT ALBUM.

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  28. Mike

    Where’s the promotion?

    Where are the interviews?

    Where’s the buzz.

    People might care too much about her personal life, but a quick “I was lost and now I’m found” talk with Barbara Walters or Katie Couric would do wonders. They’d forget all about the rough stuff. Problem is, these execs seem to think the music will do it by itself and that’s fairytale-land. I don’t see this woman on any channel talking about this album so how do you expect it to sell?

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  29. A esperada volta de Whitney // Vestiário

    [...] panorama geral, parece que Houston pouco se mexeu em “I Look To You”. Assim como a foto da capa, ouvimos uma diva forçada e com pouca emoção. Não que seja culpa da [...]

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