It’s always devastating when an untimely death makes headlines, or any death for that matter. I’m not going to sit here and say I was a superfan of Whitney Houston’s; I have one or two of her songs on my iPod, and aside from making damn sure that I Wanna Dance With Somebody was played on my wedding playlist, I didn’t hear much of Whitney in recent years unless it was at a karaoke bar or perusing the aisles of a Rite-Aid at some ungodly hour.
When the first note of that song hits my ears, I am visually teleported back to 1980-something, traipsing through my Mom’s house singing the words into a hairbrush or my Barbie’s head as it played on our record player. Beautiful, vivid flashes of my childhood, nearly 25 years ago. Those days, Mom was still single Mom — the post-divorce years, where my after school whereabouts consisted of going to either the library or Grandma’s house for Bagel Dogs until Mom was done with work. This was before my adult teeth finally appeared. Before my obsession with spandex bicycle shorts and The Little Mermaid ceased to exist. Before New Kids on the Block. Before 9/11.
When an icon like this passes, it feels like slivers of cherished memories — old, personal memories which are attached to music and songs –they die too. And afterwards the world feels a little less comfortable. To me, at least.
Rest in peace, Ms. Houston. May your spirit continue to ebb and flow with the likes of Etta James & Michael Jackson while the rest of the world continues to embrace your musical gifts forever.