TGJ Replay: “Waiting To Exhale” Soundtrack (Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige)

Published: Thursday 9th May 2013 by Rashad

Much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past.  So in a quest to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday we introduced a new retrospective segment – ‘TGJ Replay’.

Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase albums (and eras) from a library of pop music hits.  Today, we put the spindle on the star-studded, 7x platinum (U.S.) soundtrack to the 90s ultimate chick flick ‘Waiting To Exhale’…

If ever any album proved itself a hitmaking factory – shipping chart-topper after chart-topper – it would be 1995’s ‘Waiting To Exhale’ soundtrack.  Accompanying the highly successful (critically and commercially) film of the same name, the Babyface-produced venture assembled some of R&B’s top female performers for an unmatched collection of hits.

Calling upon the likes of the film’s star Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Toni Braxton, Brandy, and so many more, the album was kicked off by Houston’s ‘Exhale’ (seen above).  Certainly combatting high expectations given the mega success of her previous soundtrack (1992’s ‘The Bodyguard’), the song was an instant smash – debuting at #1 (the third single in history to ever do so).  Landing the pop diva her 11th (and final) number one single, the song quickly led the soundtrack to follow suit.

On the hems of follow-up singles ‘Sittin’ Up In My Room’ and ‘Not Gon’ Cry’ performed by Brandy and Mary J. Blige respectively, the album quickly shot to an impressive #2 debut – only to rocket to the top spot the next week.

While the movie went on to dominate box offices, its soundtrack showed no signs of slowing down its steamroll of competiton affront Billboard charts as well.  Following the blockbusters lent by Houston, Brandy, and Blige, songs ‘Count On Me’ (Houston, Winans) and Toni Braxton’s ‘Let It Flow’ were called upon to be the fourth and fifth single.

Like their predecessors, they too went straight to Billboard’s upper rankings with ‘Flow’ making the biggest splash at #1.

To match its overwhelming commercial acclaim, the album’s critical acclaim saw it dominate the next year’s Grammys with a whopping eleven nominations. Including Album of the Year and Song of the Year, despite only Houston walking away with Best R&B Song for “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)”, what viewers remember most was the live performance medley of the album’s biggest hits:

The album’s biggest success story is surprisingly not the diva domination listed on its credits as much as it is the one name behind the scenes – Babyface.  A true testament to his unyielding hitmaking power, the only song that does not bear  his name as original producer was Chaka Khan’s ‘My Funny Valentine’.

And, as Aretha Franklin’s ‘Hurts Like Hell’ as well as Houston’s own ‘Why Does It Hurt So Bad’ being just a few of the other gems launched from the album to commendable chart successes, it is safe to say that, due in great part to Mr. Edmonds, this soundtrack was a juggernaut of hits (selling over 16 million worldwide to date).

As fans wait with great anticipation for the long-awaited ‘Waiting To Exhale’ reboot (coming in the form of a TV series as we reported here), we music lovers await its accompanying soundtrack with equal excitement.

While we do not expect it to top the original by any means, we do look forward to seeing what talents will be picked to craft its follow-up.


Your thoughts?

Comments 16

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  1. MelyB May 9, 2013

    This is hands down, one of the best soundtracks EVER. So many talented women, such great songwriting & production!

  2. MyPenIzFresh May 9, 2013

    Honestly one of the best soundtracks in the last 20 years. It had the feel of cohesion and skill. I loved that so many powerful women in R&B got together to provide the sound to a stellar movie. Man i played this tape, until I got it on cd lol

  3. Add Joey Mannarino on Facebrook May 9, 2013

    Not one mention of Patti LaBelle in the article…..yall can suck a damn d***

  4. king z May 9, 2013

    not one bad song. loooved this album.

  5. JARED (WHITE DUDE) May 9, 2013

    I absolutely ADORE this soundtrack.

    This is Babyface’s masterpiece.

    Whitney Houston’s “Exhale” and Toni Braxton’s “Let it Flow” are my favourite songs.


  6. MUSICHEAD May 9, 2013

    It seems like just yesterday when this album came out. Every single song on this album is a classic. I’d always wished that Monica and Deborah C** were on it too.

  7. JOHNVIDAL May 9, 2013

    She was everything seriously. True greats live forever
    I remember listening to that grammy performance on the radio. That year Celine Dion won the Album of the Year, this soundtrack was nominated in that category. Defenitely better times…

  8. DOSSOME May 9, 2013

    Word has it that it was Whitney’s idea to include all these divas as it was initially supposed to be “all whitney” affair following the success of the Bodyguard soundtrack…Talk about “real” female empowerment.Whitney really had so much faith in Brandy and if anyone remembers VH1 Divas live 1999 when Whitney used her influence to lobby for Brandy’s inclusion as a co-headlining act alongside whitney herself,cher and tina turner that even led to a backstage quarrel with CHER…Anyways i love Exhale (shoop shoop),it showed more of the beauty and soul in her voice as opposed to the power that her previous ballads showcased…IT HURTS LIKE HELL,EXHALE & LET IT FLOW are my all time faves from the album.

  9. DOSSOME May 9, 2013

    I also hope the new soundtrack will be an all women affair with either Babyface or Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis producing it and artists i would like to see make the cut are:-

    1.Alicia Keys
    2.Tamar Braxton
    3.MJB (obviously)
    5.Beyoncé (with “smash into you” kind of soulful ballad)
    8.Gladys Knight
    9.Yolanda Adams
    10.Letoya Luckett

  10. navy Nick May 9, 2013


  11. Tiffany22534 May 9, 2013

    This album should’ve sold wayyyyyy more than just 15 million copies. More like 30 million copies. The album is simply the best R&B album of the 1990’s.

  12. Kitty May 9, 2013

    This album sums up 90’s R&B. loved it

  13. moi meme May 9, 2013

    No gon cry…. MJB at her best

  14. Loyalty May 9, 2013

    Wonderful album. I miss this music 🙁 Reminds me of being a kid.

  15. MC May 9, 2013

    This sound track is everything tbh

  16. NoneNeeded May 9, 2013

    Ahh the good days. The 90s were full of great film soundtracks:
    *Waiting To Exhale
    *The Best Man
    *Soul Food
    *What’s Love Got to Do with It

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