Yesterday evening at the Laneway Festival in Singapore, Girls performed Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” famously covered by Whitney Houston. In the video, Chris Owens is obviously emotional and singing into the wind, joined on the chorus by a howling audience. It looks like pain is shooting through his face in sour bursts, and he’s not controlling it exactly, he’s just fighting back. Maybe Owens also sees a bit of himself in Houston. In an interview last year, he talked about his struggle with addiction, saying, “Getting rid of this shit is literally the worst hell you can imagine.” In 2002, Whitney Houston told Diane Sawyer she didn’t like to think of herself as an addict. “I’m not the strongest every day, but I’m not the weakest either,” she said.
As evidenced in her own “I Will Always Love You” rendition, or her 1991 Super Bowl performance of the national anthem, Houston’s vibrato was technically untouchable. Below stream OG Ron C‘s remix of “Heartbreak Hotel,” from the 16th edition of his F-Action mixtape series. The chopped and screwed version distorts Houston’s voice beyond recognition, but captures the mood of her original version—tough but exasperated, raw and rare.