With a career as gargantuan and glittering as Whitney Houston‘s, classic smashes are not hard to find.
Indeed, a survey of Nippy’s top hit is likely to generate a range of responses and ignite ample debate.
However, for every ‘I Will Always Love You’ and ‘I Have Nothing,’ there are rare gems of equal electricity that don’t garner the shine they deserve.
Today, From The Vault salutes one of the most notable – ‘Try It On My Own.’
In being lifted from Houston’s 2002 effort ‘Just Whitney,’ the song didn’t stand much of a chance given the backdrop of drama that surrounded the Platinum-selling-yet-problem-plagued album.
At this juncture of the star’s career, her name had become lodged in the headlines as her personal struggles spilled into the public sphere.
On top of this was a falling out with her mentor and industry father Clive Davis, who did not oversee the LP for the first and only time in Houston’s career.
Without a doubt, there was much to say and more to prove; and it’s clear ‘Try It On My Own’ was designed as the vehicle for both.
Produced and penned by the incomparable Babyface, the track was issued as the third single from its parent project in February 2003.
Lyrically, it shared a powerful narrative of overcoming obstacles by going it alone and it was paired with an uplifting music video that embodied this.
While vocally the release found Houston in the most agile shape of her latter days; indeed it was decorated in earnest with the explosive runs and belting that saw her become the greatest vocalist of all time.
Gratingly, the chaotic climate the single arrived during (see: the aftermath of the Diane Sawyer “Crack Is Wack” interview) meant the track struggled to gain traction and could only manage a #84 peak on the Billboard Hot 100. A remixed version did, however, hit #1 on the Billboard Dance Chart.
Almost two decades on, the release of ‘Try It On My Own’ is all sorts of bittersweet.
On the one hand, the reality is that Houston’s life simply did not mirror the message of the song at the time of its arrival. Instead, it’s almost as if she was singing the lyrics in an attempt to manifest them. A reality that sadly did not come to fruition.
However, like the magic of her catalog at large, the song possesses an enduring quality. So while it may not have functioned as the triumphant redemption anthem for Houston herself, she gifted the world a gem that will no doubt be a victorious anthem for millions for years to come.