Waiting To Exhale: Original Soundtrack Album

Released: November 14, 1995

Label: Arista

Genre: R&B

Producer: Babyface


Movie soundtracks never really gotten my interest after the 70s, but one soundtrack that is flawless through and through. & that is the soundtrack to the 1995 classic film Waiting To Exhale. Released November 14, 1995, the film focused on Terry McMillan’s story of four middle class women living in Phoenix and centers on their relationships with men and with one another.

The movie wasn’t solely about the women finding positive relationships with men either. What I also get from the film is how Black women uplifted each other during times of turmoil, chaos and fuckery. Black womanhood needed to be celebrated more during the time of this film’s release, and to this date is one of the best films of all time.

The title is perfect for the film because they are all holding in their breath until they find that comfort in a significant other. The director of the film. (Forest Whitaker) picked Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds to tackle the soundtrack, and he definitely understood the assignment. Each song on the album spoke to the story of each woman in the film and was sung by black women.

Babyface originally wanted Whitney to sing all of the songs for the album, and the pair went with the idea of the album being an all female Cast. BLACK at that. I love everything about this soundtrack!!!

From Whitney to Aretha to Brandy, the soundtrack was truly a masterpiece from beginning to end. It also was a huge success on the charts, peaking on the US Billboard 200 & R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts at number one respectively. The album has sold over 12 million copies worldwide. Being certified 7x platinum by the RIAA, the album received a total of eleven Grammy nominations in 1997, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year for Exhale (Shoop Shoop) and the song won Best R&B song.

Ladies & Gentlemen, I present to you Waiting To Exhale: Original Soundtrack Album

Exhale (Shoop Shoop)

(Performed by Whitney Houston)

Written by Kenneth Edmonds

Everyone falls…in love sometimes! Sometimes it’s wrong, & sometimes it’s right…

Whitney Houston, 1995

I love everything about Exhale (Shoop Shoop). When you hear Whitney’s voice kick off the album, you just know it’s going to be a gem. The immaculate and late Whitney Houston sounds smooth as butter on this album. Her vocal maturity shines through and through on this record.

From a lyrical perspective, the song speaks to growth and learning how to let go of what hurts you and breathe. The song summarizes perfectly what the film is all about and I love it. Exhale was Whitney’s final number one record on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. It made sense to kick the album off with Whitney, especially with her being one of the lead actors in the film, portraying the role of Savannah Jackson.

Why Does It Hurt So Bad

(Performed by Whitney Houston)

Written by Kenneth Edmonds

Why Does It Hurt So Bad is another flawless record on the album. You feel the hurt and the pain in Whitney’s voice, especially pertaining to her character Savannah.

Let It Flow

(Performed by Toni Braxton)

Written by Kenneth Edmonds

Let It Flow is a complete gem to me. Sang by the beautiful & legendary Toni Braxton, Let It Flow gives me the affirmation that everything in my life is going to be okay. The song is truly one of the best songs on the album, period. The song gave Toni her first number one record, speaking that the song was released as a double single with her hit song You’re Makin’ Me High for her 1996 album Secrets.

It Hurts Like Hell

(Performed by Aretha Franklin)

Al Green and Aretha Franklin performing at the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, September 2. 1995. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Written by Kenneth Edmonds

We all know The Queen of Soul is going to make you love a song she’s singing on. She doesn’t even need an introduction because we know she’s the iconic and legendary Aretha Franklin. She’s the performer on It Hurts Like Hell.

From a lyrical standpoint, the song speaks about the dangers of loving someone too hard, and no matter how hard it is to let go of a romance that’s no longer there, you have to so you can find some type of happiness in your life.

Sittin’ Up in My Room

(Performed by Brandy)

Written by Kenneth Edmonds

Brandy was riding high off of the success of her self-titled album when she was featured on the soundtrack. Sittin’ Up In My Room is definitely one of the highlights of the album, with the lyrical content speaking of the singer thinking about the man she is so infatuated with.

The song was Brandy’s highest charting song at the time, peaking at number two on the charts. The song contains a sample of Sly & the Family Stone’s Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).

This Is How It Works

(Performed by TLC)

Written by Kenneth Edmonds ・Lisa Lopes

This Is How It Works is one of my favorite highlights from the album. Riding high off of the smashing success of their sophomore album CrazySexyCool, TLC blesses us with this sensual and sexy record.

Not Gon’ Cry

(Performed by Mary J. Blige)

Written by Kenneth Edmonds

From a lyrical perspective, Not Gon’ Cry was written in regards to the storyline in the film revolving around one of the main characters, Bernadine (portrayed by the legendary Angela Bassett). To summarize, Bernadine’s husband announces that he’s leaving her after 11 years for another woman (which meant he was having an affair).

In the film, we see how the end of Bernadine’s marriage affects her emotionally & physically. In one of the film’s most important scenes, we see Bernadine’s put all of her husband’s items in one of the cars and burns all of it.

Well, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul Mary J. Blige was chosen to sing this record and baby she makes you feel every word in the song. If you’re haven’t silently cried while hearing this record, you’re truly heartless. The song became a major hit for Mary J. Blige, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and was certified platinum by the RIAA.

My Funny Valentine

(Performed by Chaka Khan)

Written by Richard Rodgers • Lorenz Hart

My Funny Valentine is a classic jazz tune originally sung by Lorenz Hart, and has since been covered by artists like Frank Sinatra, Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald and many others. But the BEST cover of this song is from the immaculate Chaka Khan.

Produced by Babyface, My Funny Valentine is my favorite song on the soundtrack because Chaka sung the HELL out of this song. Another thing I love is Babyface’s production. He makes the song sound more current and more vibrant.

And I Gave My Love to You

(Performed by Sonja Marie)

Written by Kenneth Edmonds • Sonja Marie

I love Sonja Marie’s And I Gave My Love to You. A sensual spoken word record, the song samples Herb Alpert’s Making Love In The Rain.

All Night Long

(Performed by SWV)

Written by Kenneth Edmonds

All Night Long is the most perfect and sensual R&B ballad from one of my favorite girl groups, SWV.

Wey U

(Performed by Chanté Moore)

Written by Kenneth Edmonds

If you know me, you KNOW I LOVE me some Chanté Moore. Moore sings the amazing Wey U, which came about when Babyface was on his way to meet the actors and the song came to mine and he wanted her to sing it. The song doesn’t have actual words, but it gives me jazz scatting..but it is calming, soothing on the ears and gives you some type of peace listening to the record. At least that’s what I get from the song.

My Love, Sweet Love

(Performed by Patti LaBelle)

Written by Kenneth Edmonds

My Love, Sweet Love is a song chile! Sung by the amazing Patti LaBelle, the song is definitely giving wedding song. I love it.

Kissing You

(Performed by Faith Evans)

Written by Kenneth Edmonds

Riding high off of the success of her self titled debut album, Faith Evans contributed to the soundtrack with the ballad Kissing You. Faith’s voice is so soothing to me and she definitely understands the assignment. Out of Faith & Babyface collaborations, this is definitely my favorite.

Love Will Be Waiting at Home

(Performed by For Real)

Written by Kenneth Edmonds

Love Will Be Waiting At Home was written in reference to the character of Gloria (portrayed by Loretta Devine,) who was one of the most amazing characters who had a huge and loving heart…but struggled to find the one for her because of her past. For Real did an amazing job on this record.

How Could You Call Her Baby

(Performed by Shanna)

Written by Kenneth Edmonds

How Could You Call Her Baby is one of the album’s underrated records. Sang by Shanna, the ballad speaks to how most women are betrayed by the men they loved.

Count On Me

(Performed by Whitney Houston & CeCe Winans)

Written by Kenneth Edmonds • Whitney Houston • Michael Houston

Count On Me closes out the album and it is a perfect song to describe friendship and how uplifting our friends can be to us when we need to lean on them. Sang by Whitney & one of her closest friends CeCe Winans (of the dynamic Winans family dynasty,) Count On Me captures the essence and beauty of the friendships between Gloria, Savannah, Robin & Bernadine. The gospel influenced song was hit on the pop & R&B charts, peaking at number 8 & 7 respectively.

Waiting To Exhale was an amazing film and the soundtrack was even better. From a historical standpoint, Black women don’t get the opportunity to heal from heartache and heartbreak or many other things. To see a film where Black women were successful in many aspects of life, experience pain and help each up other pick up the pieces and exhale was truly amazing to see. -MW

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