The Bottom Line
It's quite possible that "Million Dollar Bill" could lead to a rebirth of Whitney Houston's success on the pop singles chart if 80's nostalgia really is in full bloom. It is the second single from the comeback album I Look to You. There is no particular new ground broken here, but the sound is clearly that of the Whitney Houston pop fans fell in love with in the past. A smooth midtempo dance groove lets that voice glide over the song in effortless fashion. The primary negative is that it does all sound rather old-fashioned.
Listen to "Million Dollar Bill."
- Old school R&B dance groove
- Brings back memories of the Whitney of old
- Solid songwriting courtesy Alicia Keys
- All sounds rather old-fashioned
- Never really cuts loose as a dance song
- Written by Alicia Keys
- Produced by Swizz Beatz
- Released August 2009 by Arista Records
Guide Review - Whitney Houston - "Million Dollar Bill"
The good news on "Million Dollar Bill" is the performance is undeniably the Whitney Houston we all know. The down side is it's all almost too familiar. The arrangement courtesy producer Swizz Beatz is very old school R&B. Alicia Keys has written a song that fits very well with her tradition of "old soul" songs, but Whitney Houston has failed to give it a new twist that would successfully make the old stunningly new again.
In her career Whitney Houston was possibly at her most powerfully current delivering the hits "It's Not Right But It's OK" and "My Love Is Your Love" from the My Love Is Your Love album. Now, 10 years later, the new song "Million Dollar Bill" sounds significantly older when played next to those two songs. However, the time may be right to deliver an 80's throwback when Cobra Starship is riding a crest of 80's style cheesiness and Shakira is reaching back into the disco vault to create "She Wolf."
Clive Davis has thrown all his clout behind the return of Whitney Houston. It remains to be seen whether that will be enough. "Million Dollar Bill" is certainly enjoyable and the Alicia Keys lyrics depict a strong, celebratory woman, but has the moment passed for Whitney Houston? Pop radio will have a big say in whether she soars again or not.