Whitney Houston Returns with New Kygo Collaboration, “Higher Love”

Everytime a famous musician passes, there is always the question of whether or not new music should be posthumously released. Whether it’s a live album or enitrely new recordings, at best, the gesture is a “gift for the fans” and at worst, the gesture is immoral and unethical. With rumors swirling about a potential hologram tour of Whitney Houston, this new posthumous collaboration is less shocking than one would expect.

On first listen, it is devastating to hear Whitney’s voice on new music. For one, the vocal production of the track is excllent, it almost sounds like an authentic and recent collaboration. Furthermore, Whitney, the single greatest mainstream vocalist of all time next to Mariaha Carey, sounds jaw-droppingly beautiful. Her vocie always had a specifc clarity to it that made every track sound heavenly.

Artwork for “Higher Love” via Apple Music.

“Higher Love,” a cover of the 1986 hit by Steve Winwood, was previously recorded by Whitney for I’m Your Baby Tonight, her third album. Whitney’s version was eventually released as a bonus track for the Japanese edition of the album. Whitney’s exhiliariting reimagination of the track is complimented by Kygo’s trademark tropical hosue production. With an emphasis on bass drums and chopped vocal samples, “Higher love” is a genuinely fun feel-good track. There isn’t anything awful about the new song from a purely musical perspecitve.

The only thing preventing “Higher Love” from reaching its full potential is the unsettling, and almost taboo, feeling of hearing Whitney’s voice on new music nearly seven years after her passing. If you can get past that, “Higher Love” is an instant addition to your summer playlist. If not, well, Whitney has a time-tested discography full of even stronger pop songs than this.

Score: 80

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