Whitney Houston

One Wish: The Holiday Album

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Whitney Houston delivered One Wish: The Holiday Album, her first Christmas record, a year after her 2002 comeback, Just Whitney. If it seemed like that record played it safe, that's nothing compared to One Wish, which is the straightest adult contemporary record Houston had released in years. Of course, holiday records are the last place anybody would want to take a risk, since they're designed to be nice, pleasant mood music and, apart from a rather horrid version of "Little Drummer Boy" -- which features her daughter Bobbie Kristina Brown on vocals, but that's not what sinks it: it's Whitney's bewildering scat on "rump-pum-pum" that ruins the cut -- this suits the bill nicely. The clean, pristine production, heavy on synths, sounds as if it was cut in the late '80s, yet it's also strangely spare, often being no more than a synth and a drum machine. Still, it's a sound that's well suited for Whitney and her thoroughly predictable set of material (the title track is the only new song, then the final two songs are recycled from the soundtrack of The Preacher's Wife). Ultimately, One Wish is the kind of album that may only appeal to a fan of Whitney who has already yearned for her holiday album, but for those fans, it will be satisfactory.

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