There are a lot of people out there who would consider Whitney Houston to be one of the greatest singers of the 20th century. Certainly, she was one of the most successful in a commercial sense, seeing as how she still holds the record for the female solo artist who sold the most physical singles. Something that could remain the case for a very long time to come. Regardless, Houston released a total of seven studio albums, every single one of which went either gold, platinum, or diamond. Still, some of them were better than others.
7. One Wish: The Holiday Album
This album is sometimes excluded from the list of Houston’s studio albums. After all, it is exactly what it sounds like, which is to say, a Christmas album. As such, it isn’t what comes to mind for most people when they think of studio albums. Still, One Wish: The Holiday Album is Houston’s sixth studio album, having been released in 2003 between Just Whitney in 2002 and I Look to You in 2009. Content-wise, the album consists of Houston’s interpretations of Christmas classics, which met with a sometimes positive and sometimes not so positive response. There were those who enjoyed her take on those songs, but there were also those who felt that her vocal performance on this album fell short of her vocal performances elsewhere.
6. Just Whitney
Just Whitney is Houston’s fifth studio album. At the time, there was a lot of interest in its release. This is because Houston signed a $100 million recording contract with Arista Records in 2001, which was the largest recording contract for a female artist at the time. Due to this, there was a lot of natural interest in seeing whether Houston’s subsequent release would prove to be worthwhile or not. In total, Just Whitney went on to sell more than 2.5 million copies. A number that should make the extent of its success clear in an instant. Still, there are better Houston albums because while this one was consistently good, it never managed to hit the same heights as its counterparts.
5. I Look to You
Speaking of which, I Look to You was also much-anticipated. In its case, it was Houston’s first non-holiday studio album since 2002, meaning that it can be considered something of a comeback album. Subject-wise, since so much time passed between the fifth and the seventh studio albums, it should come as no surprise to learn that I Look to You was influenced by a fair number of the events that had been experienced by her in that period of time. Something that enabled it to stand out. Still, the album had its issues. It was very much Houston being Houston, which made for a better result than what would have come from blind trend-chasing. Unfortunately, there were clear signs of decline setting in.
4. I’m Your Baby Tonight
It is common for artists to gain more and more control over their creative process as they become more and more successful. I’m Your Baby Tonight can be considered an excellent example of this trend. For those who are unfamiliar, Houston started out with a very pop sound. However, the nature of the content on her first two studio albums wasn’t her choice for the most part, seeing as how it was the record label that made those choices for her. By the time of Houston’s third studio album, she had gained enough influence that she was able to decide what kind of music she wanted to release. Thanks to this, I’m Your Baby Tonight became one of Houston’s more diverse albums, still being pop but now incorporating influences from both R&B and funk. The result was very successful, as shown by how the album went quadruple-platinum in the United States.
Whitney is Houston’s second album, thus making it the immediate predecessor to I’m Your Baby Tonight. There are a lot of artists who struggle with their sophomore albums. However, Houston doesn’t seem to have been one of them. This is because Whitney was extremely successful in both a critical sense and a commercial sense. In fact, it contains some of her best-known songs, which makes sense because five songs on it managed to reach the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100. Most artists struggle with reaching that kind of ranking just once over the course of their entire career. Never mind reaching it five times with a single studio album.
2. My Love Is Your Love
Apparently, Houston’s fourth studio album My Love Is Your Love didn’t do as well in the United States as her earlier releases. However, that kind of description loses a lot of its power when one realizes that it managed to go four-times platinum in the United States anyways. Still, what is interesting is that while My Love Is Your Love took a hit in the United States, it made up for that by being more popular in Europe as well as the rest of the world. On the whole, this album is what one might call a consistently excellent album, which isn’t something that always happens even for the greatest artists out there.
1. Whitney Houston
Generally speaking, artists become better and better over time as they gain more and more experience with their chosen art. However, it isn’t unknown for them to strike magic with their very first release, which is something that one can argue happened for Houston. Simply put, her self-titled debut album was extremely well-put-together, boasting outstanding vocals, outstanding songwriting, and outstanding production. With a single release, Houston managed to cement her reputation for an entire generation because it was just that good.