Prime Cuts: Run to You (Live from the Bodyguard Tour), Jesus Loves Me/He's Got the World in His Hands (Live from the Bodyguard Tour), I Have Nothing (Live from Brunei)
Overall Grade: 5/5
Whitney Houston is called the Voice with reason. Though she did wrestle many demons in her lifetime, one thing we can't fault Houston is that she had a voice that pulverises. Every second of this 14-track CD is a glorious moment. Her voice, like the radiant sunshine, traverses through the valleys and the mountains of meandering notes. Each time she comes out on the top, she is strong and resilient like an unbroken stallion that knows no defeat. But it's not just the vocal heights that is her claim to glory. Even when she goes through her vocal troughs, she unearths so much emotions that you feel as though her heart was bursting at the seams. Such a high esteem of her voice is not the sole opinion of one. Rather, 18 million people who have had bought "The Bodyguard" soundtrack would concur. Since her death in 2012, few (if any) could ever reach the Mt Everest heights she has had reached.
To celebrate the 25th year since the release of what is arguably the most successful soundtrack to date, Song Legacy has decided to release never-before-heard versions of the 6 songs Houston cut for the movie. To the ecstasy of her fans who have had always been questioning about the vault of her unreleased songs, this collection is a treat and a collector's item. Most anticipated among Houston's legion of fans is her live version of "Run to You." Set at a key lower than the original, it's a heart-stopping experience to hear how Houston throws in 110% of her emotions into this big ballad. Then she dons her preacher's robe in telling her crowd that there's someone who really loves them with the intro of "Jesus Loves Me/He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." The way she opens up so easily in worship especially when she gets the crowd to sing "Whole World" with her showcases a worshipful side of Houston we seldom see.
Houston shows us she's not just the Queen of the Night, but she's also the queen of interpretation. Her live version of "I Will Always Love You" here sounds like a benediction as she sends off her audience away after a powerful night of music. "Love" which is essentially a tearjerker about a parting lover becomes a doxology of blessing her fans as they say goodnight to the superstar. "Queen of the Night" which is a L.A. Reid/Babyface creation at the height of their Quiet Storm fame gets a 180 transformation into a funky rock mix here. Never one to be a slave to her lyric sheets, listen to how she ad libs and improvises on alternate versions of cuts such as "I'm Every Woman," "Run to You" and "I Will Always Love You." These are testimonies of what a genius Houston was in terms of waxing her own heart into her songs.
If you are thinking that the live or alternate versions of these 6 career making songs are just wooden re-hashing of the same, you will be mistaken. Houston never sings the same song in the same way twice. Every take she renders is a new song; a new take; a new interpretation; and essentially a new story. Though you may think you know these songs, they are essentially 14 new stories re-told by a lady who had had lived through the highs and lows of life.