Today is an exciting day for PopWatch: I’m launching a fun, new recurring feature here on the blog: This or That. The idea behind This or That is so ridiculously simple it’s criminal. Basically, it’s all about pop culture debates. Long-running or newly born. Silly or smart. Inconsequential or not. A PopWatch blogger will present your two options, and then you simply pick: This or That. (You may have played a fun drinking game called this, too. It’s very similar, except you don’t have to chug your beer if you don’t pick the right option. Unless you want to.)
So, today, we start with a raging (ha!) Whitney Houston debate. Why? Because it’s only 14 days until her new album, I Look To You, hits stores, and I couldn’t be more excited. (The title single is already available for download.) Plus, I was just hashing this debate out with my roommate recently (hi, Tiff!) and couldn’t stop thinking about the stark division between us on this topic — both of us rather unwilling to see the other’s point of view. So here it is. When it comes to Whitney Houston’s vault of great ’80s jams, two in particular instantly come to mind: “How Will I Know” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” So which is your fave? This or That, if you will.
To get things started, I polled 37 willing EW staffers, and the results — what do you know! — were crazy split right down the middle. A whopping 17 voted for “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” while 18 staffers chose my personal choice, “How Will I Know” (the photo of Whitney here is from the video for this song). And what of the two unaccounted for votes? They proceeded to poke holes in my debate and assured me the songs were far too similar. “Wait,” said movie reviews editor Thom Geier, “they’re different songs?” Point taken — they are similar — but screw them. This is an important debate, people! Inquiring minds — like mine — want to know!
I’ll go on the record and say that “How Will I Know” wins for me because it’s catchier and has those lyrics that seem to somehow just rise every time Whitney goes back to them. Yeah, sure, “I Wanna Dance” has that awesome “somebody hooo! somebody hooo!” which is more addictive than crack, but “How Will I Know” is just so pent-up and passionate. Like, when the hell am I just gonna know? Maybe it’s because that’s how I’m always feeling, and honestly, I have more than enough people to dance with me.
Below, enjoy both jams via clips of the awesomely tragic music videos from the ’80s. Then, vote in our This or That poll. (Please!) And burn up those message boards with which song you voted for and why!
Here’s “How Will I Know”:
And here’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”:
So which are you gonna go with? And yes, I decided to give you the option to say they’re the same song. (There you go, Thom!)
PopWatchers, which classic Whitney ’80s jam — “How Will I Know” or “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” — did you choose? Why? Let me know on the message boards! (And feel free to suggest other pop culture debates you’d like to see here in This or That on PopWatch in the future.)
PHOTO CREDIT: Neil Matthews/Retna