[4] Whitney Houston, ‘It’s Not Right But It’s Okay’

Whitney Houston

I’d bought one Whitney Houston single before – ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ – but I don’t even remember liking it. I must have bought it to impress some fresh-faced girl co-starring with me in the local amateur dramatics show. Dear me, too many confessions.

Anyway, after that ‘I Will Always Love You’ musical crime, I certainly didn’t expect to hurtle out to the shops for more Whitney goods. But this redeemed her mortal soul. A razor-sharp, calm look at infidelity, set to an unusually syncopated r&b rhythm, it found a new cutting edge beyond the cutting edge. La Houston was vital again. She cleared a little space for ‘Get Ur Freak On’.

Ignoring Dad’s suggestion that the title sounded like Roy Walker letting a Catchphrase contestant down easily, Junior did some appreciative shoulder shakes and crawled around the room like a ninja arachnid. She gives Whitney a clean slate.

[9] Method Man featuring Mary J Blige, ‘I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need To Get By’

This record scares me. It’s a decent Puff Daddy mix for a start, and then there are the discordant, eerie Blige vocals hovering in the background, not to mention the sound of Method Man declaring undying devotion. It’s almost as threatening as Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’.

It has presence and power; I suppose that’s why I placed it so high. Not enough power, mind you, to distract Junior from scratching her mum’s dressing gown while she sends her emails. For now, Mum and Dad will remain the most fascinating objects in the universe, vying only with the Rollaround balls and sofa cover.

I only noticed today that Ashford and Simpson wrote ‘You’re All I Need To Get By’ in its original form. They built it up, and built it up, and built it up and now it’s solid.