👍 The Number Ones: Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”

Liked The Number Ones: Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” (Stereogum)

Really, a lot of Houston’s best bits on “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” aren’t even about what she can do with her voice. They’re pure personality: The whoo as the song first kicks in, the giggle on the breakdown, the “now get with this” aside. Walden has said that the vamp on the breakdown — “Don’tyouwannadance Sayyouwannadance don’tyouwannadance!” — was Houston’s idea. Houston never bothers to sell the sad parts of the song, the stuff about loneliness calling. She knows she doesn’t need to. The song comes from the perspective of someone who wants to find joy in companionship, in bodies moving. The vocal comes from someone who’s already achieved that goal. It’s aspirational.

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