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Whitney's New Single Blasts the Press hide



Whitney Houston is back, and she's taking no prisoners.

Houston's new single, called "Whatcha Lookin' At," was leaked to radio stations in New York yesterday behind the backs of Arista Records executives. Pandemonium ensued since Whitney's new album, still untitled, is also still unfinished.

It is scheduled for release, though — on September 17. You read it here first.

"Whatcha Lookin' At," which I heard several times yesterday, is a tasty upbeat slice of R&B that finds Whitney in excellent voice — and in a delicious mood. She co-wrote the song with new Atlanta producers Andre Lewis and Jerry Mohammed. I'm told by insiders that Houston's hubby, Bobby Brown, found the producers himself.

The rest of the tracks on the new album are being produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmunds and Dallas Austin. Hopefully, Whitney will also be working this summer with Wyclef Jean, who wrote and produced her big hit, "My Love Is Your Love."

On "Whatcha," Houston angrily rips into the press and others who have chronicled her turbulent personal life over the last few years. To wit, she tells everyone else to get a life so she can get on with hers.

It's a calculated move on Whitney's part, but it works. It works against all good sense, too, because when you first hear it, "Whatcha" sounds like it's not going to be much. But thanks to some clever interlocking melodies, the song has "hit" written all over it.

I was a little shocked that Houston's work in the studio — in Atlanta, in Miami and this week in Los Angeles — had been fruitful at all. Just this week I spoke with someone who has known her for a decade. This person expressed great concern about Whitney's mental and physical well-being. The stories were frightening and sad. It seemed as though she was incapacitated.

But "Whatcha" is evidence to the contrary. People who've seen her in the last few weeks say that Houston is much improved from her emaciated state at the Michael Jackson concert last September.

"That's a long time ago now," says my source, "and she's really pulled it together."

I first met Whitney Houston in 1989, just as her third album was being released. Over the 13 years we've had many meetings, talks and little interviews. She was, and I'm sure still is, a delightful young woman. Let's hope that this begins a new happy phase for her, personally and professionally.

Anyway, "Whatcha Lookin' At" is whatcha going to be listening to in a few days. Arista insiders now say they will probably not take legal action, and let the single have a radio-only life.

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