This week From The Vault celebrates the 20th anniversary of an R&B classic that has aged like a fine wine – tasting better with time.
Our pick is ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ by the legendary Whitney Houston, which features soulful songbirds Faith Evans and Kelly Price.Array
Join us below for more…
Issued as the second single from Whitney’s fourth studio album ‘My Love Is Your Love,’ ‘Hotel’ was produced by Soulshock & Karlin and sees the ladies calling out a two-timing lover. The trio trade verses and harmonies, opting for smooth reflective coos rather than the belting they’re renown for. And the end result was soulfully sublime.
In the US, the track peaked at #2 where it stayed for two weeks -blocked by another diva, Cher, and her smash ‘Believe’ – and topped the Hot Hip-Hop/R&B tally for seven consecutive weeks. Meanwhile in Canada, the song charted at #12 and reached the 17th position of the British and Australian charts.
Directed by Kevin Bray, the visual for the tune features Nippy living her most lavish life – private jet, luxurious beach house, five star hotel – while contemplating the idea of terminating a grating relationship.
The video was truly on par with what the “cool kids” of the era were serving the masses, and yet still looked quintessentially “Whitney.”
And two decades later, both the song and the clip are still fresh..
Holistically, the ‘My Love Is Your Love’ era saw Whitney embrace her Urban like never before and delivered many an R&B classic. It was also warming to observe an unashamed embrace of R&B at a time when Pop and Dance were dominating in a major way.
From the unexpected yet oh-so-clever features, to the styling and video treatments, Houston and her team hit every artistic and strategic mark with the most accurate precision during the campaign.
We feel this remains the ultimate case study for what a “seasoned” diva should sound and look like. The ultimate case study.