“How Will I Know” is an incredible song. I love how it’s so absolutely 80s in it’s production but how it’s built on a solid and timeless base. I always think the best way to see these things is to hear a stopped back version. I heard Erik Hassle’s version on YouTube and I got a new appreciation for the song. Whitney Houston’s vocals are amazing and capture the combination of excitement and vulnerability of the lyrics perfectly. The first verse in particular is iconic.
I love that at one point there’s a brief flirtation with a real shredder guitar breakdown coming out of the bridge and it then switches up to a saxophone solo. It’s part of what makes the song so incredible. In the same way that it was made to be an 80s pop/r&b anthem, it’s quite modular so it could be recreated as an acoustic guitar song like Erik Hassle’s version and just focus on the voice, or it could take those guitar bits and run with it and become a Van Halen song.
You can listen to “How Will I Know’ by Whitney Houston here.