The Whitney Houston Singles Rate • #21: “Invented cacophonous tunefulness for the Spice Girls!” | Page 59 | The Popjustice Forum

The Whitney Houston Singles Rate • #21: “Invented cacophonous tunefulness for the Spice Girls!”

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by londonrain, Apr 11, 2021.

  1. The Freemasons versions of the Solange and Kelly Rolland tracks are the definitive versions for me. Both immaculately done.

    I prefer the original version of Million Dollar Bill by a mile though.
    londonrain and MilesAngel like this.
  2. londonrain

    londonrain Staff Member

    Well, with seven 10s...

's time to say goodbye to one of Whitney's biggest US hits.

    (Which means it isn't Could I Have This Kiss Forever, If I Told You That or Higher Love.)


    31. Exhale (Shoop Shoop)

    Average: 7.894
    Highest scores: 10 x 7 (@WhatKindOfKylie?, @Sprockrooster, @cdd216, @Epic Chocolat, @Fizzywhig, @Maria, @Petty Mayonnaise), 9.5 x 2 (@Holly Something, @Lost In Japan.)
    Lowest scores: 3 x 1 (@Dangerous Maknae), 4 x 3 (@DominoDancing, @idratherjack, @Daniel_O)
    My score: 9

    Chart positions: US #1, US R&B #1, US AC #5, UK #11
    Rank in the first Whitney singles rate: #31 of 49 (average: 6.449)

    10 ballots: #39
    20 ballots: #37
    30 ballots: #32
    40 ballots: #34
    51 ballots: #31

    It took us 41 eliminations, but we finally say goodbye to one of Whitney's eleven Hot 100 #1s... and in doing so we eliminate the last remaining song from the Waiting To Exhale soundtrack.

    Until 1995, no song had ever debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, but on the chart dated September 2, 1995, Michael Jackson ended that with You Are Not Alone, his thirteenth and final Hot 100 #1. It was replaced after only a single week at the top by Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise (featuring L.V.), which reigned for three weeks, and then... the next three #1 songs all debuted at the top, meaning that by the end of 1995 the Hot 100 had had four #1 debuts, all within the last four months of the year.

    The first of those songs was Fantasy by Mariah Carey, which spent eight weeks at #1 and became the second-highest seller of the year (behind Gangsta's Paradise, which spent a total of twelve weeks in the top two despite only having three weeks at #1). The second was Exhale (Shoop Shoop), which became Whitney's first ever song to debut at #1 and her eleventh and final #1 on the Hot 100.

    Since the massive success of The Bodyguard's soundtrack, the only music released by Whitney was Something In Common, her duet with Bobby Brown, which wasn't released as a commercial single in the US and so couldn't chart on the Hot 100 due to the chart rules at the time. (The rules were subsequently changed, and Aaliyah's 2000 single Try Again became the first song to reach #1 on airplay alone before a commercial single had been issued.) Anticipation for her next project, Waiting To Exhale, was therefore high, especially after Babyface's involvement meant that Whitney went back on her original decision not to record any songs for the soundtrack. Exhale (Shoop Shoop) was released one week before the soundtrack album, and in stark contrast to the bombast of I Will Always Love You it showed off a much more understated, sleek sound, with Whitney only really starting to belt in the middle eight.

    Waiting To Exhale is a film about four women whose love lives are uncertain (in four very different ways) and who are waiting for the day when they're able to "exhale" and relax in the security of a good relationship. Exhale (Shoop Shoop) takes that theme and turns it around, talking about how, despite life's highs and lows, "when you've got friends to wish you well / you'll find the point when you will exhale"... and the titular "shoop shoop" is a very literal rendition of that exhalation. The middle eight expands further on this, emphasising the importance of knowing yourself ("You should look inside yourself / You're halfway there" - a theme echoed in Count On Me's "The answer's there within"). The result is an almost meditative take on accepting the vagaries of life and finding peace - a far cry from the agony of I Will Always Love You or the intensity of I Have Nothing.

    Exhale (Shoop Shoop)'s reign at #1 was short-lived, with it instantly being replaced at the top in its second week by Mariah Carey's second single from Daydream, a collaboration with Boyz II Men called One Sweet Day. That song would go on to spend a record-breaking sixteen consecutive weeks at #1 on the Hot 100... and Exhale (Shoop Shoop) spent eleven of those weeks stuck behind it at #2. This gave Exhale (Shoop Shoop) the record for the most weeks spent at #2 by any single in Hot 100 history, which it held on its own until 2021, when Olivia Rodrigo's Good 4 U followed almost the same trajectory, debuting at #1 and spending eleven non-consecutive weeks at #2.

    On the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, where Exhale (Shoop Shoop) had also debuted at #1, Whitney was able to keep the top spot and relegate One Sweet Day to a #2 debut, eventually spending eight consecutive weeks at #1 (of which seven of those were spent with One Sweet Day stuck behind it at #2). In its ninth week it fell to #3 and was replaced at the top by Monica's double A-sided single Before You Walk Out Of My Life/Like This And Like That, leaving One Sweet Day at #2 for an eighth week. One Sweet Day ultimately spent nine weeks at #2 on the chart but never reached #1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs despite its record-breaking run on the Hot 100.

    At the 1997 Grammy Awards, the Waiting To Exhale soundtrack was nominated for Album Of The Year and four of its songs - including Exhale (Shoop Shoop) and Count On Me - were performed as a medley by the original artists. (The album lost the award to Celine Dion's Falling Into You.)

    Exhale (Shoop Shoop) was also nominated for Song Of The Year, Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance - although only Best Female R&B Vocal Performance is counted as a nominated for Whitney, as the other two awards are songwriters' awards and so Babyface, as the writer, was the nominee. Exhale (Shoop Shoop) won the Best R&B Song award, beating two other songs that were written or co-written by Babyface (Brandy's Sittin' Up In My Room and Toni Braxton's You're Makin' Me High).

    Later in 1997, Whitney performed the song on the special Classic Whitney Live From Washington, D.C. and used the ending of the song to invite BeBe Winans, Monica and Shirley Caesar to provide their own additions to the ad libs. She even brought Bobbi Kristina on stage and tried (unsuccessfully) to get her to add her own shoops!

    (The whole section with Bobbi Kristina is truly one of the cutest live Whitney moments.)

    @DominoDancing (4): “This was a number 1 hit? Can we check the receipts? I have absolutely no clue what the appeal is supposed to be here. That "shoop shoop" hook is repetitive, basic and annoying.”

    @MilesAngel (6.5): “I've never really liked this much. The verses are okay but the chorus is boring. Skippable.”

    @daninternational (7): “It's not what I come to Whitney for, even if it's well executed”

    @Jimmyandroid (7.5): “It’s nice enough but doesn’t pack a punch”

    @berserkboi (8): “This is nice but the repetitive “Shoop Shoops” have always been a deterrent!”

    @rav4boy (8): “I can’t remember if this was a big hit in the UK but I do seem to remember it being everywhere on the radio at one point.”

    @WowWowWowWow (8): “Now we are entering the Whitney era where I was using my own pennies to buy soundtrack tapes. I always shoopin' loved those final verse of shoops!”

    @CasperFan (8.5): “Gorgeous and very understated song that reveals itself after multiple listens”

    @IEngineered (9.1): “Whitney at her most stately”

    @cdd216 (10): “Simply gorgeous. And an expert career pivot.”

    @Epic Chocolat (10): “My favorite Babyface-penned song in this rate, love his background vocals. Comfort pop.”

    @Fizzywhig (10): “The UK and US music scenes were going through another of their divergent phases when this came out, so this underperformed a bit in the UK as a single. But that was our loss, as this was a great single. Sometimes less is more, and it was a nice change of pace from some of her bigger ballads.”

    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021

  3. Wait, how does that work? How can a song hit #1 in the main chart but stall at #2 in a genre one?
  4. londonrain

    londonrain Staff Member

    Top 30

    Whitney Houston (1985): 3/8
    Hold Me (with Teddy Pendergrass)
    Thinking About You
    You Give Good Love
    All At Once

    Saving All My Love For You
    How Will I Know
    Greatest Love Of All
    Someone For Me (Alan The Judge Coulthard Remix)

    Whitney (1987): 6/7
    I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)
    Didn't We Almost Have It All
    So Emotional
    So Emotional (Shep Pettibone Edited Remix)
    Where Do Broken Hearts Go
    Love Will Save The Day (7" Single Version)
    I Know Him So Well (with Cissy Houston)

    I'm Your Baby Tonight (1990): 4/9
    I'm Your Baby Tonight
    I'm Your Baby Tonight (European Version)
    All The Man That I Need
    My Name Is Not Susan
    My Name Is Not Susan (Waddell 7" Mix)
    My Name Is Not Susan (Rap Version) (featuring Monie Love)
    I Belong To You
    We Didn't Know (with Stevie Wonder)

    The Bodyguard (1992): 5/7
    I Will Always Love You
    I'm Every Woman
    I'm Every Woman (Every Woman's House/Club Mix Radio Edit)
    I Have Nothing
    Run To You
    Queen Of The Night
    Queen Of The Night (CJ's Single Edit)

    Waiting To Exhale (1995): 0/3
    Exhale (Shoop Shoop)
    Count On Me (with CeCe Winans)
    Why Does It Hurt So Bad

    The Preacher's Wife (1996): 1/3
    I Believe In You And Me (Single Version)
    Step By Step
    My Heart Is Calling

    My Love Is Your Love (1998): 6/9
    When You Believe (with Mariah Carey)
    Heartbreak Hotel (with Kelly Price & Faith Evans)
    Heartbreak Hotel (Hex Hector Radio Mix) (featuring Faith Evans & Kelly Price)
    It's Not Right But It's Okay
    It's Not Right But It's Okay (Thunderpuss 2000 Radio Mix)
    My Love Is Your Love
    My Love Is Your Love (Jonathan Peters Radio Mix)
    I Learned From The Best
    I Learned From The Best (HQ2 Radio Mix)

    Whitney: The Greatest Hits (2000): 2/4
    Could I Have This Kiss Forever (Metro Mix) (with Enrique Iglesias)
    If I Told You That (featuring George Michael)
    Same Script, Different Cast (with Deborah Cox)

    Just Whitney (2002): 0/7
    Whatchulookinat (P. Diddy Radio Mix)
    Whatchulookinat (Thunderpuss Full Radio Mix)
    One Of Those Days
    Try It On My Own
    Try It On My Own (Thunderpuss Radio Mix)
    Love That Man

    One Wish: The Holiday Album (2003): 0/1
    One Wish (For Christmas)

    I Look To You (2009): 1/4
    I Look To You
    Million Dollar Bill
    Million Dollar Bill (Freemasons Radio Mix)
    I Didn't Know My Own Strength

    Sparkle (2012): 0/2
    Celebrate (with Jordin Sparks)
    His Eye Is On The Sparrow

    Extras (1982-2019): 2/8
    Memories (Material featuring Whitney Houston)
    If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful (with Jermaine Jackson)

    One Moment In Time
    It Isn't, It Wasn't, It Ain't Never Gonna Be (Single Remix) (with Aretha Franklin)
    The Star Spangled Banner
    Something In Common (Radio Edit) (with Bobby Brown)
    Memories (with Siti Nurhaliza)

    Higher Love (with Kygo)

    We've fairly equitable distribution of eliminations across the different sections over the last ten cuts, with two losses for Whitney Houston, two for I'm Your Baby Tonight, one for The Bodyguard, one for Waiting To Exhale, one for Whitney: The Greatest Hits... and a three for I Look To You, which had started the top 40 with all four of its songs unscathed.

    Only the extras, My Love Is Your Love and the one remaining song from The Preacher's Wife remain unbothered... but for how long? Will our last song from I Look To You outlast Step By Step? What will the top song from Whitney: The Greatest Hits be?

    Oh, and you should start worrying for your 11s now. Twenty-one of the thirty songs remaining have received at least one 11, and the first two to go have received two 11s each (with one of them also receiving a whopping fourteen 10s!) so we're about to really start culling your faves.​
  5. londonrain

    londonrain Staff Member

    The genre charts reflect airplay for that genre's radio formats. This means that R&B radio stations were playing Exhale more than they were playing One Sweet Day, but presumably the combination of sales and pop airplay (which are both excluded from the R&B chart) was higher for One Sweet Day, and that was enough to push it past Exhale on the Hot 100.

    In the UK, where airplay isn't included in chart data, the R&B chart is basically just all the R&B songs from the main chart, in the same order. Exhale hit #2 on the UK R&B chart, which literally just means it was the second-highest charting R&B song on the UK singles chart that week.
  6. As my lowest score left, I was thinking about mentioning Exhale as next to go, but talked myself out of it as I thought it would get more 10's. I feel bad about not loving it but the chorus just isn't for me.
  7. As happy as I am that a lot of you like Exhale, even a few months after scoring it it hasn't grown on me one bit and still leaves me completely cold. So obviously not too sad about it leaving right now, and without re-checking my scores, I still believe that every single song left in the rate scored considerably higher from me.
  8. Exhale is fine and I like it, but it being such a huge hit is kind of odd given how simple it is.
  9. Truly stunned by the lack of love for Exhale on here.
  10. This was still in? One of her most boring songs to me, I guess I prefer the "agony and intensity" of her bigger ballads.

    We are at the business end of things now as I like almost every song left. This is going to get brutal!
  11. The thing is though she couldn't have just endlessly churned out big ballads - she'd already done three on The Bodyguard soundtrack and they're arguably amongst the best she ever recorded, so there had to be a change of pace afterwards.
    cdd216, londonrain and idratherjack like this.
  12. I like the change of pace of the My Love Is Your Love singles but The Preacher's Wife and Waiting To Exhale soundtracks were not for me. Well, apart from Step By Step which is one of the best things she ever did!
  13. I adore the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack but I actually prefer the other tracks over Whitney's. I know that may be heresy to admit.

    I love the overall lush Babyface production.
  14. Sittin' Up In My Room is the best of the soundtrack for me but Not Gon' Cry and Exhale round out the top three. The whole soundtrack makes for a great listen really.
    3Xs, Aester, londonrain and 1 other person like this.
  15. londonrain

    londonrain Staff Member

    For me it’s probably:

    1. Sittin’ Up In My Room
    2. Not Gon’ Cry
    3. It Hurts Like Hell
    4. Let It Flow
    5-7. the three Whitney singles
    8. My Funny Valentine
    9. How Could You Call Her Baby

    and then the amount that I stan everything else depends on my mood.
    3Xs and DominoDancing like this.
  16. Exhale is alright but quite boring. Given the stellar singles run from My Love Is Your Love, it's a real shame this was her last number one hit in the US.
  17. As much as I like Exhale, it also feels the right time for it to go.
    Mr Blonde and londonrain like this.
  18. 'Heartbreak Hotel' was unlucky to be up against Cher's all-conquering 'Believe', but the other singles from My Love is Your Love never got enough airplay to be in with a chance of getting to #1 in the US.

    Whitney's singles had all been stronger on the sales chart from 'Exhale' onwards, but airplay was more valuable for securing a higher chart position on Billboard at the time.
    londonrain and Leopold like this.
  19. Exhale is simple and understated, but as said above, it was the change of pace needed at the time. Agony and intensity has its place, but needs to be parsed out sometimes or it'll swallow you whole and leave you exhausted.
    Mr Blonde, londonrain, 3Xs and 2 others like this.
  20. R27


    Another understated Whitney track being kicked out before it deserved to be? I'm not loving the pattern here! But at least it did better here than in the original rate.

    As for the song itself, "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" is one of Whitney's most beautiful and delicate songs in every sense (vocally, melodically, and lyrically). It's like aural soothing balm.
    cdd216 and londonrain like this.
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