Just Whitney

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Just Whitney
Whitney Houston- Just Whitney Cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 10, 2002
Recorded2001–2002
Genre
Length39:08
Label
Producer
Whitney Houston chronology
Love, Whitney
(2001)
Just Whitney
(2002)
One Wish: The Holiday Album
(2003)
Singles from Just Whitney...
  1. "Whatchulookinat"
    Released: September 17, 2002
  2. "One of Those Days"
    Released: October 29, 2002
  3. "Try It on My Own"
    Released: February 11, 2003
  4. "Love That Man"
    Released: May 20, 2003

Just Whitney is the fifth studio album by American singer Whitney Houston, released on December 10, 2002 by Arista Records. It was her first studio album released after her greatest hits compilation Whitney: The Greatest Hits in 2000, and after signing a $100 million contract with Arista Records in 2001, the largest recording contract for a female artist at the time.

The album debuted at number nine on the official US Billboard 200 album chart, and number three on the Top R&B Albums chart, with sales of 205,147 copies in the first week. That not only beat her previous high first-week sales of 177,284 units with the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack, but also logged her highest debut sales out of her SoundScan-era albums.

The album spawned four singles (in order), "Whatchulookinat", "One of Those Days", "Try It on My Own" and "Love That Man", with the first, third, and fourth singles peaking at number one on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart. "Try It on My Own" also peaked at number 10 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary singles. Since its release, Just Whitney... has gone on to sell more than 2 million units worldwide and has also earned Platinum certification in the US and Switzerland and Gold in France, Brazil and other countries. As of 2012, the album's US sales stand at over 1 million units. In 2003, Just Whitney... was nominated at the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards in the category for Best R&B/Soul Album of the Year.[1]

Background and production[edit]

Just Whitney... is Houston's fifth studio album, that she recorded after renewing her contract with Arista for a record $100 million.[2] It is mixed with R&B ballads, R&B mid-tempo numbers, and dance songs. It also includes a rock song, "Tell Me No". Houston said that she wanted to make a "very soul oriented" album, something she felt was missing on the radio.[2] It was somewhat a departure from her previous studio album My Love Is Your Love, which was blended with R&B, hip hop, and reggae.

She worked with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, with whom she had worked with previously, and Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs. Other producers included Missy Elliott, Teddy Bishop, Gordon Chambers, Rob Fusari, and Troy Taylor. Her then-husband, recording artist Bobby Brown, also co-produced one of the songs.

According to Houston,

"[t]his album for me is about surviving, raising a family, being a wife or girlfriend and all the challenges that go along with those things. These songs are more about creating a mood than about anything in particular."[3]

She also said that she wanted to give something to the fans, songs which they can sing along to and love the melody.[2] She also incorporated samples into her songs such as in "One of Those Days" ㅡ album's second single, which sampled The Isley Brothers' song "Between the Sheets". She also covered Debby Boone's classic "You Light Up My Life".[4] The album also contains the rock influenced "Tell Me No", which was produced by Babyface, who also produced some other songs on the album including the ballad "Try It on My Own" and dance-pop song "Love That Man" ㅡ both of which became singles. The song "Whatchulookinat" was produced by Brown and Mohammad 2G and became the project's lead single. The song, co-written by Houston, was taken by critics as an answer to the media for deeply invading her personal life.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[6]
Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionB+ [7]
BBC(Positive)[8]
Entertainment WeeklyB− [5]
Los Angeles Times1.5/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone2/5 stars[10]
Slant Magazine2.5/5 stars[11]
USA Today2.5/4 stars[12]
Yahoo! Music(7/10)[13]

Upon its release, Just Whitney received mixed reviews from critics, with aggregated reviews on Metacritic awarding the album 53 out of 100.[14] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic commented that Just Whitney was "an assertion that she's returning to her basics."[6] He also said that "It would be a good standard-issue Whitney album if it wasn't for her disarming, defensive attempt to defuse every rumor hurled in her direction."[6] Billboard reviewed the album commenting that "Just Whitney appears and sounds more like a work-in-progress than a finished disk".[15] Steve Jones of USA Today graded the album fairly well, giving it two-and-half stars out of four, but stating, "At her best, Houston is full of sass and attitude and, most of all, joy. But with so much emphasis on what's bothering her, you can't help but wonder whether the thrill is gone."[12] According to The Guardian, the album takes "a musical step backwards".[16]

Tom Sinclair of Entertainment Weekly graded the album a solid B- and noted that Just Whitney had quite a refreshingly "old-school vibe." He commented, "Whatever her personal problems, our gal [sic] sounds plucky and on top of her game. Still, in her third decade as a diva, Houston remains a formidable role model for American Idolwannabes.[5]"

Jon Pareles of New York Times wrote, "Ms. Houston's voice sails and spirals through breathy ballads, staccato constructions and big-build anthems; she's strategic and improvisatory at the same time." He summarized by saying that even when she's seething, she's graceful.[17]

Angus Batey from Yahoo! Music UK & Ireland graded the album seven stars out of ten commenting, "[...] this is a cogent, compact and really quite good record, one that mixes upbeat, perhaps slightly clinical R&B with uber-ballads and occasional snatches of what appears to be an attempt at intimacy."[13] Craig Seymour of Atlanta Journal and Constitution gave the album a favorable review stating, "On Just Whitney, Houston comes off as warm, lucid, open, and sharp.[7] Keysha Davis of BBC gave a favorable review commenting, "With one of the exceptional voices in contemporary music, her latest album, aptly titled Just Whitney sees the diva return to her former glory with a combination of high-voltage ballads and smooth-liqueur R&B. [...] Whitney's return to big ballads will hopefully ensure that this pop princess will be able to lead the rest of her life like a clichéd fairy tale - happily ever after."[8] Mike Bell from Jam! Showbiz, was also favorable in his review, saying "Maybe because of everything that's happened in her past, maybe because of the sideshow, she has the ability to give the songs real feeling, real life." In addition, he stated that her voice was in fine form, "showcasing those incredible pipes that launched a thousand imitators." He concluded by saying, "And it shows up all of those followers with recent releases ㅡ including Mariah Carey and Celine Dion ㅡ because not only does Houston have the lungs, but she has the soul."[18]

Commercial performance[edit]

On the week ending December 28, 2002, Just Whitney debuted and peaked at number nine on the Billboard 200 and number three on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.[19] The album spent 26 weeks on the US Album chart. It was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments exceeding one million copies. The album has sold 1 million copies in the United States and roughly 1 million worldwide for total sales of 2 million copies.[20]

Just Whitney was a moderate hit worldwide. In Australia, the album reached number 22 on the ARIA Urban Albums Chart.[21] The album debuted at number 85 on the Canadian Albums chart, selling 3,000 copies in its first week.[22] In Austria, it entered the albums chart on December 8, 2002 at its peak position of number 33.[23] In Switzerland, the album saw its second highest peak, when it debuted at number 10 on the charts.[24] It was certified Platinum by the IFPI Switzerland for shipment/sales of 30,000 copies or more.[24] In France, the album charted at number 25 and was certified Gold, for shipment of 50,000 copies.[25][26] In the Netherlands, it peaked at number 70 on the albums chart.[27] Just Whitney was certified Gold in Brazil. In the UK, it peaked at number 76.[28] The album has sold more than 2 million copies worldwide.[29]

Singles[edit]

The album saw the release of four official singles - two preceding and two succeeding the album's release.

"Whatchulookinat" became the album's lead single released on September 17, 2002. The song received mixed to unfavorable reviews from critics.[30] The single became a moderate success worldwide, peaking inside the top forty in most countries. In the US, it became her tenth Hot Dance Club Play topper.[31] The corresponding music video was also considered as Houston's answer to the media for getting too deep into her personal life. The video showed a white set with cameras all over, following Houston's every move. The set was also full with old movie cameras and people dressed as reporters and photographers. Houston is shown dancing in front of them.

"One of Those Days" was the album's second single and was released on October 29, 2002.[32] The song received many positive reviews from critics. It sampled The Isley Brothers' song "Between the Sheets". The single was a moderate success in the US. The accompanying music video's plot revolved around Houston and her friends, having a day for themselves and going to the club at night.

"Try It on My Own" became the project's third single and was released on February 11, 2003. The song received acclaim from critics as well as fans; most of them who named it as the album's highlight.[8] The song, like its predecessors, was a moderate success and topped Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.[33] It also reached the top ten on the US Adult Contemporary chart. Internationally, the song performed fair. A music video was released to promote the single.

"Love That Man" was the fourth and final single from the album, released on May 20, 2003. It became another Dance Club chart-topping single, but failed to make the Hot 100. No accompanying video was released for the single.[34]

Promotion[edit]

To promote the album, Houston appeared on the 2002 MTV Europe Music Awards, performing her new single "Whatchulookinat".[35] She also appeared on the 2003 VH1 Divas Duets: An Honors Concert for the VH1 Save the Music Foundation and performed her hits including two songs from the album; "My Love" and "Try It on My Own". Apart from these, she also performed "One of Those Days" and "Tell Me No" live on Good Morning America. No major tours were arranged to support the album.

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."One of Those Days"She'kspere4:15
2."Tell Me No"Babyface3:44
3."Things You Say"
4:13
4."My Love" (featuring Bobby Brown)
  • Chambers
  • Bishop
3:28
5."Love That Man"
  • Babyface
  • Fusari
3:27
6."Try It on My Own[A]"
Babyface4:40
7."Dear John Letter"
  • Briggs
  • Dwight Reynolds
  • Patrice Stewart
  • Whitney Houston
She'kspere4:34
8."Unashamed"
  • Darius Good
  • Luke Paterna
  • Stephanie Salzman
  • Troy Taylor
  • Taylor
  • The Forumla[B]
3:38
9."You Light Up My Life"Joe Brooks
  • Babyface
  • Rickey Minor
3:42
10."Whatchulookinat"
  • Bobby Brown
  • Muhammad
3:33
International edition[36]
No.TitleLength
1."Whatchulookinat"3:33
2."Tell Me No"3:44
3."One of Those Days"4:10
4."Things You Say"4:13
5."My Love" (featuring Bobby Brown)3:28
6."Love That Man"3:28
7."On My Own+"4:39
8."Dear John Letter"4:34
9."Unashamed"3:38
10."You Light Up My Life"3:42
11."Whatchulookinat" (P. Diddy Remix)4:08
Total length:43:17
Limited edition bonus DVD[37]
No.TitleLength
1."Whatchulookinat" (music video)4:11
2."Love to Infinity Megamix" (Video)5:15
3."Whatchulookinat" (Behind the Scenes)4:52
Total length:14:18
Notes
  • ^[A] on international editions, "Try It on My Own" is labeled as "On My Own".
  • ^[B] denotes co-producer

Personnel[edit]

Adapted from AllMusic.[38]

  • Joey Arbagey – A&R
  • Babyface – drum programming, guest artist, acoustic guitar, keyboards, producer, background vocals
  • Tom Bender – assistant
  • Charile "CSUN" Bereal – producer
  • Kenny Bereal – producer
  • Ted Bishop – arranger, drum programming, engineer, keyboards, producer, vocal arrangement
  • Paul Boutin – engineer
  • Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs – arranger, engineer, midi, producer
  • Bobby Brown – featured artist, guest artist, primary artist, producer
  • Matt Brown – assistant
  • Melanie Byrd – production coordination
  • Terrence Cash – engineer
  • Gordon Chambers – producer, vocal arrangement, vocal producer, background vocals
  • Greg Charley – guitar
  • Kevin KD Davis – mixing
  • Nathan East – bass
  • Missy Elliott – producer
  • Cortez Farris – engineer
  • Steve Fisher – assistant
  • Roxanna Floy – make-Up
  • Sherree Ford-payne – background vocals
  • Rob Fusari – producer
  • Jon Gass – mixing
  • Steve Genewick – assistant
  • Sharlotte Gibson – background vocals
  • Kevin Guarnieri – engineer
  • Mick Guzauski – mixing
  • Gary Houston – background vocals
  • Whitney Houston – primary artist, producer, vocal arrangement, vocals, background vocals
  • Jimmy Hoyson – assistant
  • Kenya Ivey – background vocals
  • Scott Kieklak – engineer
  • Latrelle – background vocals
  • Ellin La Var – hair stylist
  • Ricky Lawson – drums
  • Marc Stephen Lee – assistant
  • Wayne Linsey – fender rhodes
  • Manny Marroquin – mixing
  • Bill Meyers – string arrangements, string conductor
  • Ricky Minor – producer
  • Muhammad2G – producer
  • Sheryl Nields – photography
  • Joe-mama nitzberg – Creative Director
  • Greg Phillinganes – piano
  • Josean Posey – assistant
  • Herb Powers – mastering
  • L.A. Reid – executive producer
  • Dennis Rivadeneira – assistant
  • Jeffrey Schulz – art direction, design
  • Ivy Skoff – production coordination
  • Antonique Smith – background vocals
  • Patrice "ButtaPhly" Stewart – vocal producer
  • Craig "Niteman" Taylor – assistant
  • Shawndella Taylor – A&R
  • Troy Taylor – producer, programming, rhythm arrangements, vocal producer
  • Michael Hart Thompson – guitar
  • Tweet – vocal producer, background vocals
  • Tommy Vicari – string engineer
  • Randy Waldman – string arrangements, string conductor
  • Mike White – engineer
  • Patti Wilson – stylist
  • Theresa Wilson – A&R
  • Jeffrey "Woody" Woodruff – string engineer

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
France (SNEP)[54] Gold 100,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[55] Gold 50,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[56] Gold 100,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[57] Platinum 40,000^
United States (RIAA)[58] Platinum 1,000,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lady of Soul nominees announced". United Press International. July 18, 2003. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Gail Mitchell (December 14, 2002). Arista Aims New Houston Album At 'Core Urban' Fans. Billboard. Retrieved October 30, 2010.
  3. ^ "Whitney Houston Trivia and Quotes". Tv.com. Archived from the original on December 3, 2010. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
  4. ^ Friedman, Roger (August 19, 2002). "Whitney Houston Does Debby Boone". Foxnews.com. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c Tom Sinclair (December 9, 2002). "Music Review: Just Whitney". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c "Allmusic - Just Whitney". AMG. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Craig Seymour (December 9, 2002). "Whitney 'Just' gets better with time". Atlanta Journal and Constitution. p. C1. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
  8. ^ a b c "Just Whitney - BBC Music". BBC.co.uk. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  9. ^ Robert Hilburn (December 8, 2002). "Just Whitney and a whiff of desperation". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  10. ^ Jon Caramanica. "Album Review: Just Whitney". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  11. ^ Sal Cinquemani (December 4, 2002). "Just Whitney - Slant Magazine". Slant. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  12. ^ a b Steve Jones (December 10, 2002). "Just bad vibes ; Lyrics are bitter, songs are flat in Houston's upcoming release". USA Today. p. D.01. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
  13. ^ a b Angus Batey (November 28, 2002). "Album Reviews: Whitney Houston - Just Whitney". Yahoo! Music UK & Ireland. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  14. ^ Metacritic. "Just Whitney - Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  15. ^ Michael Paoletta (December 14, 2002). Reviews & Previews: Albums - Just Whitney. Billboard. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
  16. ^ Petridis, Alexis (November 22, 2002). "Whitney Houston: Just Whitney (Arista)". The Guardian. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  17. ^ Pareles, Jon (December 1, 2002). "Music; In Their New Albums, the Divas Try to Be Divaesque". New York Times. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
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  19. ^ The Billboard 200 chart listing for the week ending December 28, 2002. Billboard. December 28, 2002. Retrieved October 30, 2010.
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  21. ^ [1]
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  28. ^ Jones, Alan (November 5, 2007). "Eagles top UK album chart". Music Week. United Business Media. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
  29. ^ Norment, Lynn (June 2003). "Ebony L. A. Reid: The Most Powerful Black In The Music Business". Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company: 124–. ISSN 0012-9011.
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  31. ^ Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart listing for the week ending October 12, 2002. Billboard. October 12, 2002. Retrieved October 30, 2010.
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  33. ^ Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart listing for the week ending April 12, 2003. Billboard. April 12, 2003. Retrieved October 30, 2010.
  34. ^ Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart listing for the week ending June 21, 2003. Billboard. June 21, 2003. p. 35. Retrieved October 30, 2010.
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  54. ^ "French album certifications – Whitney Houston – Just Whitney" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  55. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – Whitney Houston – Just Whitney" (in Portuguese). Pro-Música Brasil.
  56. ^ "Japanese album certifications – ホイットニー・ヒューストン – Just Whitney" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan.
  57. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Whitney Houston; 'Just Whitney')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien.
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External links[edit]