Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Tomorrow on OutQ, I'll be talking about divas.
Not my usual turf, but it is relevant to the community, and there's a number of diva records out now.

When Whitney Houston first hit the scene when I was a kid, I didn't like her. She just seemed so mainstream, and that wasn't where my head was at. Even now, I don't love her early stuff. But today, I can totally appreciate her excellent cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You." But my favorite Whitney song is "My Love Is Your Love," written and produced by Wyclef Jean. When you hear the song, and especially when you watch the video, you can see that 'Clef had Lauryn Hill in mind for that one. A lesser singer would get lost in the song, it is so Fugee-ish. It's not Whitney's usual fare - a bit too reggae - but she owns it. That kind of won me over. Tomorrow we may play that. I also have a Whitney rarity: a song called "Memories" from an album by a group called Material. She sang this before she released her debut album.

I don't have as much to say about Reba McEntire. She comes from the Nashville mainstream which I used to more or less ignore, but which I've gotten a lot of respect for. I recently spent a few days working in Nashville - I should have written about it, and I probably will soon. Reba, I think, came up at around the same time as George Strait and some of the so-called "new traditionalist" country artists. It was country aimed at the country charts, not the pop charts. It's very far from the Outlaw Country that I prefer, but still, I am starting to warm to it. Most of these mainstream country acts don't have that edge, but they don't have to. The people who they are singing to are working class people trying to get through the day, they don't necessarily need the kind of rebellion that the more rock and roll influenced country has. I hope that doesn't sound condescending. Anyway, Reba recently performed at the SIRIUS|XM studios, and I thought she was pretty great. Her new album debuted at #1 on Billboard, which was a first for her.

We also may talk about Madonna's new song, "Celebration," the title track of her upcoming best-of, which will be her final album for Warner Brothers, the label where she has spent her entire career. When I was younger, I didn't like Madonna much either, but I warmed up to her around the time of Like A Prayer. There is a great non-single on that album called "'Til Death Do Us Part" (probably about her ex-husband Sean Penn) which is very powerful, that's my favorite song by her, but she has lots of good ones of course.

Next week, we'll get back to my usual territory, when we'll be talking about The Beatles.

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