DJ Badger:  The News and the Journal

Entry One Hundred Fifty-One.
Monday, 2012.02.27, 1:41 AM CST.

The Death of Whitney Houston.
Current Mood:  Nostalgic.
Current Scent:  None.

It's been a while.  Sorry about the delay, everyone.  Happy new year and all that.

I've got some catching up to do, and I hope to do so quickly over the course of the next few updates.

I want to make it clear right off the bat:  I was not what I would consider a Whitney Houston fan.  She died two weeks ago last Friday, and I was a little shocked but not bowled over with surprise.

Whether or not I was a fan, I could not deny the impact of her career, nor the impact of her death.  One could call her a washed-up has-been, which she was... but one could not deny how many massive hits she had released in the past.

"I Will Always Love You," of course, ranks right there at the top.  I wouldn't care to count how many times I played that one during my mobile DJ days.  Next, I'd point out "So Emotional" and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" from the 80s... oh, and "Saving All My Love for You."  I couldn't leave out "The Greatest Love of All," even though I found that particular song extremely annoying.

The Whitney Houston song for which I hold the most memories is, quite easily, "How Will I Know" from 1985.  This wasn't her first single, but was her first real dance-oriented hit.  This was during my early teens; I wasn't yet in high school, but I was starting to understand the relevance of pop music.  I was still a social outcast, spending time collecting comics, playing at my home on my Apple IIe, and getting out of the house mainly to go to square dance meetings with my parents.

Yes, you read that right... I was a square dancer in my youth.  Please don't tell anyone.

Anyway... I had started getting into pop music that year, and once my parents invested in a VCR, I made a point of regularly taping the Casey Kasem top 10 countdown show every weekend, watching the videos and getting to know more about the artists.  It was during this time that I remember seeing and hearing "How Will I Know."

Was it a simple song?  Sure.  Deep and meaningful?  Definitely not.  Was it a song that I can say, in retrospect, that I ever really loved?  No.  However, it was a hit - a hit that drove its way deep into my memories of the time.

Whitney had lots of other hits after that song... and lots of issues.  Drug issues, alleged money issues.  She married Bobby Brown for a while, and that went haywire.  I can't accept the popular belief that "Whitney would still be alive today if it weren't for Bobby Brown."  They had been divorced for years at the time of her death, and even if he had been the one who introduced her to drugs (which I don't necessarily believe), she had plenty of time to clean up her life afterward.  (I definitely am not a Bobby Brown fan, but all this mess could never make me stop loving "My Prerogative.")

As her career skyrocketed, Whitney seemed (at least to me) to have more and more of an ego issue.  When her career crashed, she just turned into another music-industry train wreck.  Physically, she couldn't avoid getting older... but her appearance changed drastically and her behaviour just turned uglier over time as well.  By the time of her death at the age of 48, she didn't look much like the fresh-faced, young singer that I remembered from the 1980s.

The weekend of Whitney Houston's funeral, I didn't watch the funeral itself.  I saw pictures and read the news about it, but I didn't watch video footage of the funeral.

Instead, I watched the video for "How Will I Know," and - even though I was one of the many in my circle of friends who had been making irreverent comments and even joking about her demise - at that point, I shed a tear or two.  Watching her dance around that excessively colourful set, smiling and singing and bouncing... well, it was just too much.

That was the Whitney that I wished could still be around.

Like so many other parts of my past, Whitney Houston is now dead and gone... but, part of me feels that the Whitney Houston of my youth died and left us years and years ago.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  My world is changing far too quickly.  Dear God, please make it stop.

More soon.