by: Whitney Houston

Exhale (Shoop Shoop) was the first single released from the Babyface-penned soundtrack to the hit film Waiting to Exhale, which starred Whitney Houston. The maxi-single included five tracks (but no remixes), making it into something of a Houston rarities CD (as was the case with its follow-up single, Count on Me). "Exhale" spent a lone week atop the U.S. pop charts, and stands as one of Houston's most understated hits. The song, with its quiet bells, lovely strings, and mellow arrangement, sounds almost like a soulful Christmas carol, which was fitting as the song was a hit during 1995's Christmas season. Two hard to find former B-sides are on this single: "Dancing' on the Smooth Edge" and the gorgeous "Moment of Truth," which became something of a radio hit years earlier. Also included is Houston's contribution to 1987's much-loved original A Very Special Christmas album, "Do You Hear What I Hear," which has gone on to become a modern-day holiday favorite. To round out the single is Houston's campy and somewhat bizarre duet with Aretha Franklin, "It Isn't, It Wasn't, It Ain't Never Gonna Be." That song, which peaked at an embarrassing number 41, was originally on Franklin's 1989 album, Through the Storm, and finds the two R&B queens pitted against each other over the same guy, all the while referring to one another as "Miss Thang." Therefore, this maxi-single was a cleverly compiled bag of Houston rarities (good and bad), and an irresistible enticement for the singer's many fans. ~ Jose F. Promis

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