Ranking the Best Whitney Houston Albums

We music fans are a highly opinionated bunch. There’s not much we agree on.

But if you’re a fan of this site, I bet we can come to this consensus: Whitney Houston is one of the greatest vocalists of all time.

It’s not up for debate.

From the early ’80s to her untimely death in 2012, Nippy was the measuring stick for vocal ability – and trust me, she set the bar so high that very few could see it, let alone reach it.

Let’s honor her incomparable legacy by revisiting her solo LPs, ranking them from bottom to top. This list will exclude her soundtrack efforts (sorry y’all, no Bodyguard or Preacher’s Wife) and we’ll also skip her holiday albums and compilations.

She was the voice of a generation. Witness her in her glory.

i look to you

6. I Look to You (2009)

Soul In Stereo rating: 3 stars out of 5 (read our review here)

Edd said: Sigh. I Look to You was Whitney’s final album and the seams were definitely starting to show. While this did SOUND like a Whitney album – she avoided the temptation to betray her core sound for current trends – there’s a distinct weariness in her vocals. Between that, and the lack of memorable songs, this is the one blemish on Whitney’s resume.

Forgotten Favorites: “Million Dollar Bill,” “Like I Never Left,” “Nothin But Love”

just whitney

5. Just Whitney (2002)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: To compile these rankings, I went back and relistened to each of Whitney’s albums. It’s only fair. And I’m so glad that I did because it forced me to revisit Just Whitney, an album that I unfairly dismissed back in 2002. And sure, while it’s nowhere near as good as her more well-known releases, it’s a pretty great piece of business. Time had yet to take their toll on Whitney’s vocals and though there’s a lack of bonafide hits to be found, nearly every song is expertly produced and performed. If you missed this one in ’02, give it another shot today.

Forgotten Favorites: “One of Those Days,” “My Love,” “Unashamed”

whitney

4. Whitney (1987)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Fighting off the dreaded Sophomore Jinx is often the first big test of an artist’s young career. Whitney passed that test. Loaded with pop hits aplenty, Whitney catapulted her to international stardom. While some of the album cuts occasionally miss the mark, there are certainly way more hits here than misses. This is the album that cemented Whitney’s fame.

Forgotten Favorites: “Where You Are,” “You’re Still My Man,” “Just the Lonely Talking Again”

im your baby tonight

3. I’m Your Baby Tonight (1990)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: It’s funny to hear arguments in 2017 about which artist are and are not TRUE R&B singers. You young’ns might not believe this but back in the late 80s, even the mighty Whitney Houston was accused of being “too pop.” On her third LP, though, Whitney gained more creative control, balancing out her earlier glossy pop sound with more traditional R&B and funk elements. The result was one of the most diverse albums of her career.

Forgotten Favorites: “Anymore,” “I Belong to You,” “We Didn’t Know”

my-love-is-your-love

2. My Love Is Your Love (1998)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: Whitney spent most of the mid-90s collaborating on a trio of memorable soundtracks (The Bodyguard, Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher’s Wife, if you’re keeping score) but her return to the world of solo LPs in 1998 proved to be one of her best outings EVER. As great as her previous albums were, there was often an air of inconsistency about them. Not here. My Love Is Your Love is as air-tight as it gets, blending radio-friendly fare with daring production and hearty ballads. If there was any concern that personal problems would take a toll on her career, this album crushed those doubts.

Forgotten Favorites: “I Learned from the Best,” “If I Told You That,” “I Bow Out”

whitney houston

1. Whitney Houston (1985)

Soul In Stereo rating: 5 stars out of 5

Edd said: With one album, Whitney Houston became the voice of a generation. I dare you to find a flaw in Whitney’s debut – the top-notch songwriting, pitch-perfect production, and of course, a voice that seemed to descend from the heavens combined to make one of the defining albums of the 1980s. It’s not only Whitney’s best album by far, but one of the greatest albums ever recorded.

Forgotten Favorites: “Someone for Me,” “Thinking About You,” “All At Once”

What are your favorite Whitney albums? Talk about ’em below.

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