This album is a typical example of bad things happening to a great singer. For the better part of the last decade, Whitney Houston apparently decided that she was a contemporary R&B singer and not a pop artist, turning her back on the musical stylings that attracted legions of fans to her enormous vocal talents in the mid-80s. Audiences have repeatedly refused to buy that scheme, which resulted in decreasing album sales and radio airplay. Unfortunately, neither Whitney nor her team seem to have gotten the message yet, since this last album falls into the same trap.
Not that "Just Whitney" is a total disaster - the production is professional and slick, it's short and to-the-point, and it has a couple of okay songs. The main problem is that "Just Whitney" is a very boring album loaded with third-rate material that sounds like leftovers from a Mary J Blige recording session (and given the poor quality of Ms Blige's material, that's saying a lot) as performed by a singer who has become a shadow of her former self. Whitney manages to get the right attitude on the first two songs and then falls asleep on the job for the rest of the album - just like the listener. She desperately attempts to recapture some of her magic with heavy ballads like "Try it on my own" and "You light up my life"; however this singer is not the gifted powerhouse that lit up such otherwise generic songs as "Didn't we almost have it all", "You're still my man", "You give good love" or "All at once", and the results are not as convincing.
On an even more problematic level, Whitney's vocals sound out of breath, she can no longer hit those long powerful notes, and just refuses to follow a melody, belting each note and twisting it in endless melisma to cover her unability to hit a note on the head. It's hard not to allude to Houston's private misdemeanors, but since it's not of our business either, let's just say that years of abuse have apparently ruined a genuine raw vocal talent.
By falling short of its diluted R&B pretentions, and by failing at its few attempts to pander to her former audience's tastes, "Just Whitney" is a double failure. The die-hard fans will likely pick it up or already have; as for the casual Whitney admirators, there really is no valuable reason to put your hard-earned money on this album. Live on your memories and avoid this turkey at all costs.