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Robert Christgau of The Village Voice called her contribution "one of the most gorgeous ballads you've ever heard". He convinced Arista's head Clive Davis to make time to see Houston perform. Davis was impressed and immediately offered a worldwide recording contract, which Houston signed. Houston had been offered deals by recording agencies before—by Michael Zager in , and by Elektra Records in —but her mother declined them on the grounds that Whitney had yet to complete high school.
Houston did not begin work on an album immediately. Some producers had to pass on the project because of prior commitments. In the UK, the dance-funk "Someone for Me", which failed to chart in the country, was the first single while " All at Once " was in such European countries as the Netherlands and Belgium , where the song reached the top 5 on the singles charts, respectively.
In the US, the soulful ballad " You Give Good Love " was chosen as the lead single from Houston's debut to establish her in the black marketplace first. She also began performing on late-night television talk shows, which were not usually accessible to unestablished black acts. She was then an opening act for singer Jeffrey Osborne on his nationwide tour.
At the time, MTV had received harsh criticism for not playing enough videos by black, Latino, and other racial minorities while favoring white acts. Houston's subsequent singles from this and future albums would make her the first African-American woman to receive consistent heavy rotation on MTV. By , a year after its initial release, Whitney Houston topped the Billboard albums chart and stayed there for 14 non-consecutive weeks. Houston was No. Houston's second album, Whitney , was released in June Many critics complained that the material was too similar to her previous album.
Rolling Stone said, "the narrow channel through which this talent has been directed is frustrating". Houston became the first woman in music history to debut at number one on the Billboard albums chart, and the first artist to enter the albums chart at number one in both the US and UK, while also hitting number one or top ten in dozens of other countries around the world. At the 30th Grammy Awards in , Houston was nominated for three awards, including Album of the Year. Houston was a supporter of Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement. During her modeling days, she refused to work with agencies who did business with the then-apartheid South Africa.
The show was a benefit concert that raised a quarter of a million dollars for the United Negro College Fund. In , Houston formed The Whitney Houston Foundation For Children, a non-profit organization that has raised funds for the needs of children around the world. The organization cares for homelessness, children with cancer or AIDS, and other issues of self-empowerment.
With the success of her first two albums, Houston became an international crossover superstar, appealing to all demographics. However, some black critics believed she was " selling out ". I'm not ashamed of it. Houston took a more urban direction with her third studio album, I'm Your Baby Tonight , released in November She produced and chose producers for this album and as a result, it featured production and collaborations with L. The album showed Houston's versatility on a new batch of tough rhythmic grooves, soulful ballads and up-tempo dance tracks. Reviews were mixed. Rolling Stone felt it was her "best and most integrated album".
She sang live, but the microphone was turned off. It was a technical decision, partially based on the noise factor. This is standard procedure at these events. As a result, she was named to the Red Cross Board of Governors. Her rendition was critically acclaimed and is considered the benchmark for singers. Unforgettable", and the performance ranked No.
VH1 listed the performance as one of the greatest moments that rocked TV. This time it peaked at No. The free concert took place at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk , Virginia in front of 3, servicemen and women. HBO descrambled the concert so that it was free for everyone to watch.
Throughout the s, Houston was romantically linked to American football star Randall Cunningham and actor Eddie Murphy. After a three-year courtship, the two were married on July 18, Brown would go on to have several run-ins with the law, including some jail time. With the commercial success of her albums, movie offers poured in, including offers to work with Robert De Niro , Quincy Jones , and Spike Lee , but Houston did not feel the time was right.
Houston played Rachel Marron, a star who is stalked by a crazed fan and hires a bodyguard to protect her. USA Today listed it as one of the 25 most memorable movie moments of the last 25 years in You can't hide that fact. The Washington Post said Houston was "doing nothing more than playing Houston," but added that she came out "largely unscathed if that is possible in so cockamamie an undertaking".
The film's soundtrack also enjoyed success. Houston executive-produced and contributed six songs for the motion picture's adjoining soundtrack album. Rolling Stone said it is "nothing more than pleasant, tasteful and urbane". Houston's version of the song was acclaimed by many critics, regarding it as her "signature song" or "iconic performance".
Houston won three Grammys for the album in , including two of the Academy's highest honors, Album of the Year and Record of the Year. Her concerts, movie, and recording grosses made her the third highest-earning female entertainer of —94, just behind Oprah Winfrey and Barbra Streisand according to Forbes magazine. The event was considered the nation's "biggest media event since the inauguration of Nelson Mandela". In , Houston starred alongside Angela Bassett , Loretta Devine , and Lela Rochon in her second film, Waiting to Exhale , a motion picture about four African-American women struggling with relationships.
Houston played the lead character Savannah Jackson, a TV producer in love with a married man. She chose the role because she saw the film as "a breakthrough for the image of black women because it presents them both as professionals and as caring mothers". The New York Times said: "Ms. Houston has shed the defensive hauteur that made her portrayal of a pop star in 'The Bodyguard' seem so distant. The film's accompanying soundtrack, Waiting to Exhale: Original Soundtrack Album , was written and produced by Babyface. Though he originally wanted Houston to record the entire album, she declined.
Instead, she "wanted it to be an album of women with vocal distinction", and thus gathered several African-American female artists for the soundtrack, to go along with the film's message about strong women. Houston's " Exhale Shoop Shoop " peaked at No. The album debuted at No. She plays the gospel-singing wife of a pastor Courtney B.
The San Francisco Chronicle said Houston "is rather angelic herself, displaying a divine talent for being virtuous and flirtatious at the same time", and she "exudes gentle yet spirited warmth, especially when praising the Lord in her gorgeous singing voice". Houston recorded and co-produced, with Mervyn Warren , the film's accompanying gospel soundtrack. Houston also duetted with gospel legend Shirley Caesar. The album sold six million copies worldwide and scored hit singles with " I Believe in You and Me " and " Step by Step ", becoming the largest selling gospel album of all time.
Some critics, such as that of USA Today , noted the presence of her emotional depth,  while The Times said, "To hear Houston going at full throttle with the 35 piece Georgia Mass Choir struggling to keep up is to realise what her phenomenal voice was made for". In December , Whitney's spokesperson confirmed that she had had a miscarriage. Their goal was "to show aspects of the lives of African-Americans that have not been brought to the screen before" while improving how African-Americans are portrayed in film and television.
Houston was initially offered the role of Cinderella in , but other projects intervened. Houston and Chase then obtained the rights to the story of Dorothy Dandridge. Houston wanted the story told with dignity and honor. After spending much of the early and mids working on motion pictures and their soundtrack albums, Houston's first studio album in eight years, the critically acclaimed My Love Is Your Love , was released in November Though originally slated to be a greatest hits album with a handful of new songs, recording sessions were so fruitful that a new full-length studio album was released.
The album debuted at number thirteen, its peak position, on the Billboard chart. The album gave Houston some of her strongest reviews ever. Rolling Stone said Houston was singing "with a bite in her voice"  and The Village Voice called it "Whitney's sharpest and most satisfying so far". Blige , Tina Turner , and Cher. While the European leg of the tour was Europe's highest grossing arena tour of the year,  Houston cancelled "a string of dates [during the] summer citing throat problems and a 'bronchitis situation'".
The double disc set peaked at number five in the United States, reaching number one in the United Kingdom. Though Houston was seen as a "good girl" with a perfect image in the s and early s, her behavior had changed by and She was often hours late for interviews, photo shoots and rehearsals, she canceled concerts and talk-show appearances, and there were reports of erratic behavior. On January 11, , airport security guards discovered marijuana in both Houston's and husband Bobby Brown's luggage at a Hawaii airport, but the two boarded the plane and departed before authorities could arrive.
Charges were later dropped against them,  but rumors of drug usage by Houston and Brown would continue to surface. Shortly thereafter, Houston was scheduled to perform at the Academy Awards, but was fired from the event by musical director and longtime friend Burt Bacharach. Her publicist cited throat problems as the reason for the cancellation.
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In his book The Big Show: High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards , author Steve Pond revealed that "Houston's voice was shaky, she seemed distracted and jittery, and her attitude was casual, almost defiant", and that while Houston was supposed to sing " Over the Rainbow ", she would start singing a different song during rehearsals.
The following month, Rolling Stone published a story stating that Cissy Houston and others had held a July intervention in which they unsuccessfully attempted to persuade Whitney to obtain drug treatment. Houston's publicist said, "Whitney has been under stress due to family matters, and when she is under stress she doesn't eat.
In , Houston became involved in a legal dispute with John Houston Enterprise.
Although the company was started by her father to manage her career, it was actually run by company president Kevin Skinner. Although Skinner tried to claim otherwise, John Houston never appeared in court. Also in , Houston did an interview with Diane Sawyer to promote her then-upcoming album. During the prime-time special, Houston spoke about her drug use and her marriage, among other topics. Asked about the ongoing drug rumors, she replied, "First of all, let's get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let's get that straight. We don't do crack.
We don't do that. Crack is wack. Houston also denied having an eating disorder, and denied that her very thin appearance was connected to drug use. Houston further stated that Bobby Brown had never hit her, but acknowledged that she had hit him. In December , Houston released her fifth studio album, Just Whitney. The album included productions from then-husband Bobby Brown, as well as Missy Elliott and Babyface, and marked the first time that Houston did not produce with Clive Davis as Davis had been released by top management at BMG.
Upon its release, Just Whitney received mixed reviews. Just Whitney was certified platinum in the United States, and sold approximately two million worldwide. Houston produced the album with Mervyn Warren and Gordon Chambers. In December , Bobby Brown was charged with battery following a domestic altercation in which he allegedly threatened to beat Houston and then hit her in the face.
Having always been a touring artist, Houston spent most of touring and performing in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Russia. In September , she gave a surprise performance at the World Music Awards in a tribute to long-time friend Clive Davis. After the show, Davis and Houston announced plans to go into the studio to work on her new album. The show provided a view of the domestic goings-on in the Brown household. Though it was Brown's vehicle, Houston was a prominent figure throughout the show, receiving as much screen time as Brown. The series aired in and featured Houston in unflattering moments.
Years later, The Guardian opined that through her participation in the show, Houston had lost "the last remnants of her dignity". After years of controversy and turmoil, Houston separated from Bobby Brown in September and filed for divorce the following month. Brown also sought child and spousal support from Houston.
In the lawsuit, Brown claimed that financial and emotional problems prevented him from properly responding to Houston's divorce petition. Houston gave her first interview in seven years in September , appearing on Oprah Winfrey's season premiere. The interview was billed as "the most anticipated music interview of the decade". I wasn't happy by that point in time. I was losing myself. Evil eyes, staring out like a threat In another room there was a big framed photo of [Whitney] — but someone had cut [her] head out.
It was beyond disturbing, seeing my daughter's face cut out like that. Houston released her new album, I Look to You , in August The album entered the Billboard at No. Houston also appeared on European television programs to promote the album. She performed "Million Dollar Bill" on the following day's results show, completing the song even as a strap in the back of her dress popped open two seconds into the performance. She later commented that she "sang [herself] out of [her] clothes". The performance was poorly received by the British media and was variously described as "weird" and "ungracious",  and a "flop".
Despite this reception, "Million Dollar Bill" jumped to its peak from 14 to number 5 her first UK top 5 for over a decade , and three weeks after release I Look to You went gold.
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Houston later embarked on a world tour, entitled the Nothing but Love World Tour. It was her first world tour in over ten years and was announced as a triumphant comeback. However, some poor reviews and rescheduled concerts brought negative media attention. Some fans reportedly walked out of her concerts.
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Jennifer Hudson and Kim Burrell performed in honor of Houston, garnering positive reviews. The performance aired on January 30, In May , Houston enrolled in a rehabilitation center again, citing drug and alcohol problems. A representative for Houston said that the outpatient treatment was a part of Houston's "longstanding recovery process". In the film, Houston portrays Sparks' "not-so encouraging" mother.
Houston is also credited as an executive producer of the film. Debra Martin Chase, producer of Sparkle , stated that Houston deserved the title considering she had been there from the beginning in , when Houston obtained Sparkle production rights. Her death derailed production, which would have begun in It was made available for digital download on iTunes on June 5. The accompanying music video for "Celebrate" was filmed on May 30, Houston reportedly appeared "disheveled"    and "erratic"   in the days immediately prior to her death.
Two days later, on February 11, Houston was found unconscious in Suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, submerged in the bathtub. The service was scheduled for two hours, but lasted four. Kelly "I Look to You". The performances were interspersed with hymns by the church choir and remarks by Clive Davis , Houston's record producer; Kevin Costner ; Rickey Minor , her music director; her cousin, Dionne Warwick ; and Ray Watson, her security guard for the past 11 years.
Aretha Franklin was listed on the program and was expected to sing, but was unable to attend the service. The February 11th, Clive Davis pre-Grammy party that Houston was expected to attend, which featured many of the biggest names in music and movies, went on as scheduled — although it was quickly turned into a tribute to Houston. Davis spoke about Houston's death at the evening's start:.
By now you have all learned of the unspeakably tragic news of our beloved Whitney's passing. I don't have to mask my emotion in front of a room full of so many dear friends. I am personally devastated by the loss of someone who has meant so much to me for so many years. Whitney was so full of life. She was so looking forward to tonight even though she wasn't scheduled to perform. Whitney was a beautiful person and a talent beyond compare.
She graced this stage with her regal presence and gave so many memorable performances here over the years. Simply put, Whitney would have wanted the music to go on and her family asked that we carry on. Tony Bennett spoke of Houston's death before performing at Davis's party. Some celebrities opposed Davis' decision to continue on the party while a police investigation was being conducted in Houston's hotel room and her body was still in the building. Chaka Khan , in an interview with CNN 's Piers Morgan on February 13, , shared that she felt the party should have been canceled, saying: "I thought that was complete insanity.
And knowing Whitney I don't believe that she would have said 'the show must go on.
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I'm not going to be there. I don't want to be in a hotel room when there's someone you admire who's tragically lost their life four floors up. I'm not interested in being in that environment and I think when you grieve someone, you do it privately, you do it with people who understand you. I thought it was so wrong. Many other celebrities released statements responding to Houston's death. Darlene Love , Houston's godmother, hearing the news of her death, said, "It felt like I had been struck by a lightning bolt in my gut.
You will be missed. I couldn't believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen. All three featured live interviews with people who had known Houston including those that had worked with her, interviewed her along with some of her peers in the music industry. Saturday Night Live displayed a photo of a smiling Houston, alongside Molly Shannon , from her appearance.
Houston's former husband, Bobby Brown , was reported to be "in and out of crying fits" after receiving the news. He did not cancel a scheduled performance and within hours of his ex-wife's sudden death, an audience in Mississippi observed as Brown blew kisses skyward, tearfully saying: "I love you, Whitney. Ken Ehrlich, executive producer of the 54th Grammy Awards , announced that Jennifer Hudson would perform a tribute to Houston at the February 12, ceremony. An image montage of Houston and important black figures who died in was followed by video footage from the ceremony, which depicted her accepting two Image Awards for outstanding female artist and entertainer of the year.
Houston was a mezzo-soprano ,   and was commonly referred to as "The Voice" in reference to her exceptional vocal talent. Jon Caramanica of The New York Times commented, "Her voice was clean and strong, with barely any grit, well suited to the songs of love and aspiration. She sounds really good, really strong. In those seconds the former gospel singer-turned-pop star packs a series of different notes into the single syllable", stated Everitt.
The vocal technique is called melisma, and it has inspired a host of imitators. Other artists may have used it before Houston, but it was her rendition of Dolly Parton's love song that pushed the technique into the mainstream in the 90s. Houston's vocal stylings have had a significant impact on the music industry. While almost every performer whose albums sell in the millions calls upon an entertainer's bag of tricks, from telling jokes to dancing to circus pyrotechnics, Ms. Houston would rather just stand there and sing. Houston struggled with vocal problems in her later years.
Gary Catona, a voice coach who began working with Houston in , stated: "'When I first started working with her in , she had lost She could barely speak, let alone sing. Her lifestyle choices had made her almost completely hoarse. During the s, MTV was coming into its own and received criticism for not playing enough videos by black artists. With Michael Jackson breaking down the color barrier for black men, Houston did the same for black women. She became the first black woman to receive heavy rotation on the network following the success of the "How Will I Know" video.
For radio stations, black women singers aren't taboo anymore. AllMusic noted her contribution to the success of black artists on the pop scene, commenting, "Houston was able to handle big adult contemporary ballads, effervescent, stylish dance-pop, and slick urban contemporary soul with equal dexterity" and that "the result was an across-the-board appeal that was matched by scant few artists of her era, and helped her become one of the first black artists to find success on MTV in Michael Jackson's wake".
Of her first album's ten cuts, six were ballads. This chanteuse [Houston] had to fight for air play with hard rockers. The young lady had to stand uncowed in the locker room of macho rock. The soul strutter had to seduce a music audience that anointed few black artists with superstardom. And because every new star creates her own genre, her success has helped other blacks, other women, other smooth singers find an avid reception in the pop marketplace.
Stephen Holden of The New York Times said that Houston "revitalized the tradition of strong gospel-oriented pop-soul singing". She was, alongside Michael Jackson and Madonna, one of the crucial figures to hybridize pop in the s, though her strategy was far less radical than that of her peers. Jackson and Madonna were by turns lascivious and brutish and, crucially, willing to let their production speak more loudly than their voices, an option Ms.
Houston never went for. Also, she was less prolific than either of them, achieving most of her renown on the strength of her first three solo albums and one soundtrack, released from to If she was less influential than they were in the years since, it was only because her gift was so rare, so impossible to mimic. Jackson and Madonna built worldviews around their voices; Ms. Houston's voice was the worldview. She was someone more to be admired, like a museum piece, than to be emulated. Whitney, on the other hand, just sang, and the ripples from her voice continue to dominate the pop landscape.
Houston was considered by many to be a "singer's singer", who had an influence on countless other vocalists, both female and male. I've been singing with her my whole career, actually. I wanted to have a career like hers, sing like her, look beautiful like her. Her voice was perfect. Strong but soothing. Soulful and classic. Her vibrato, her cadence, her control. So many of my life's memories are attached to a Whitney Houston song. She is our queen and she opened doors and provided a blueprint for all of us. Mary J. Blige said that Houston inviting her onstage during VH1 's Divas Live show in "opened doors for [her] all over the world".
That CD introduced the world to her angelic yet powerful voice. Without Whitney, half of this generation of singers wouldn't be singing. I wanted to sing like Whitney Houston in that red dress. I learned it backward, forward, sideways. The video still brings chills to me. When you wish and pray for something as a kid, you never know what blessings God will give you. Alicia Keys said "Whitney is an artist who inspired me from [the time I was] a little girl.
She told Newsday that she learned from Houston the "difference between being able to sing and knowing how to sing". Lewis stated that she idolized her as a little girl. Houston was the most awarded female artist of all time, according to Guinness World Records ,  with two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among a total of career awards as of She held the all-time record for the most American Music Awards of any female solo artist and shared the record with Michael Jackson for the most AMAs ever won in a single year with eight wins in It stated that she paved the way for Mariah Carey's chart-topping vocal gymnastics.
In , the biographical film Whitney premiered on Lifetime. On 27 April , it was announced that Kevin Macdonald would work with the film production team Altitude , producers of Amy Winehouse film Amy , on a new documentary film based on Houston's life and death. It is the first documentary authorized by Houston's estate. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the entertainer. For her eponymous album, see Whitney Houston album. Newark, New Jersey , U. Beverly Hills, California , U.
Singer actress film producer model. Bobby Brown m. Arista RCA. Jermaine Jackson Bobby Brown. A song written by Dolly Parton , and one of Houston's most-recognised and best selling singles worldwide, "I Will Always Love You" prominently uses melismas.
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Further information: List of awards and nominations received by Whitney Houston and Whitney Houston chart records and achievements. Main articles: Whitney Houston albums discography , singles , and videos. Main article: Whitney Houston filmography. Main article: List of Whitney Houston live performances. African American portal. The New York Times.
February 11, [Retrieved February 12, ]. VNR AG; February 16, Retrieved November 4, Entertainment Wise. February 12, Archived from the original on February 15, February 13, [ archived January 2, ; Retrieved February 17, ]. Johnson Publishing Company; August 26, Chelsea House Publishers; January USA Today.
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Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 10, February 24, [Retrieved October 5, ]. Retrieved January 22, The Daily Gazette Co. Associated Press. March 5, Retrieved March 31, Johnson Publishing Company; February 18, I like pickles from the jar. I say You, you say Am I. You like mornings, I like nights. You say Christopher, I say Walken.
You love, I love Christopher Walken!!! I guess at least we have got one thing in common. Wakes up at a quarter past nine Fare evades his way down the 96 tram line. Feeling sick at the sight of his computer He dodges his way through the Swanston commuters. Rips off his tie, hands it to a homeless man Sleeping in the corner of a Metro bus stand. Gonna count the minutes that the trains run late.
Sit on the grass building pyramids out of Coke cans. He waits for an elevator, 1 to 9, A lady walks in and waits by his side. Her heels are high and her bag is snakeskin. Hair pulled so tight you can see her skeleton. Vickers perfume on her breath, A tortoise-shell necklace between her breasts. The elevator dings, and they awkwardly step in, Their fingers touch on the rooftop button….
I like you despise you admire you What are we gonna do when everything all falls through? Underworked and oversexed I must express my disinterest, The rats are back inside my head what would Freud have said? Dirty clothes, I suppose, we all outgrow ourselves. I lay awake at four, staring at the wall, Counting all the cracks backwards in my best French.
I pretend the plaster is the skin on my palms And the cracks are representative of what is going on. I lose a breath, my love line seems entwined with death could be a spider web ….
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I lay awake at three, staring at the ceiling. All different sizes and all shades of green, Slashing it down just seems kinda mean. Who am I to deny myself a pawn for you to use? I make mistakes until I get it right. Oh the calamity I wanna go to sleep for an eternity… Who am I to deny myself a pawn? An eye for an eye for an eye for an eye, I dreamed I stabbed you with a coat hanger wire.
We drive to a house in Preston, We see police arresting a man with his hand in a bag. This place seems depressing. Then I see the handrails in the shower, A collection of those canisters for coffee, tea and flour And a photo of a young man in a van in Vietnam. I saw you in the lane next to me. You were doing free-style. Then you switched it around to a little bit of backstroke. I had goggles on. They were getting foggy.
I much prefer swimming to jogging. I tried my very best to impress you Held my breath longer than I normally do. I was getting dizzy. Sunk like a stone. Like a first owners home loan. When I came to, you and your towel were gone. Heading down the Highway Hume somewhere at the end of June.
Taxidermied kangaroos are littered on the shoulders A possum Jackson Pollock is painted on the tar. Sometimes I think a single sneeze could be the end of us, my hay-fever is turning up, just swerved into a passing truck. Big business overtaking, without indicating; he passes on the right, been driving through the night to bring us the best price.
More people die on the road than they do in the ocean, maybe we should mull over culling cars instead of sharks or just lock them up in parks where we can go and view them. Why you so eager to please? I wear my heart on my sleeve. Gets harder in the winter, gotta be a fake or shiver, It takes a great deal out of me. Envy is thin because it bites but never eats. Hey Debbie Downer turn that frown upside down and just be happy. Boring, neurotic everything that I despise. We had some lows we had some mids we had some highs. Watermarks on the ceiling.
I see a dead seal on the beach. Guess it just wants to die? I was driving down sun set strip Phillip Island, not Los Angeles Got me some hot chips and a cool drink, took a sandy seat on the shore. So take what you want from me. All I wanna say is…. How was your day? Mine was OK. Worked my fingers down to the bone.
How about you, what did you do? Spent my whole night dreaming of you. Like a Christmas tree on Boxing Day: thrown away. Why you so calm? I wanna shout. I wanna rip my goddamn throat out. Why do you feel for me anyway? Boil it up, water in the saucepan. In a cup, drink it from a silver spoon.
That MSG tastes good to me, i disagree with all your warnings. Two minutes seems like a life-time. Burn my tongue, patience is a virtue. I was busy underwater seeing how long I could hold my breath. A drowning flower caught my eye and I had to come on up for air. I am normally pretty forgiving but only if you are. Climb aboard the wagon when it comes on through. Look over my shoulder when I talk to you.
You have made your bed, I know better than to sleep in it. Better off dead than the hell that will become of it. I take pieces of myself from everyone around me. I sleep in late another day oh what a wonder oh what a waste. The nice lady next door talks of green beds and all the nice things that she wants to plant in them.