Mega-producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds assembled quite a cast for this critically acclaimed soundtrack (and movie). The phenomenal Whitney Houston leads a mostly all-star cast of artists. Houston is featured on three of the 16 selections including the "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)," which crested at the number spot on the Billboard R&B charts for eight consecutive weeks and one week at number one on the pop charts. The dynamic vocalist sails through the emotional "Why Does It Hurt So Bad." She teams with Cece Winans on the inspirational duet "Count on Me," and both accomplished singers raise all hopes with their comforting vocals.
With a Sly Stone twist, Babyface concocts a laid-back funk groove for the single "Sittin' up in My Room," which features the humble vocals of Brandy. Though the song does not allow her to unwind with her higher notes, it does, however, reveal her lower octaves. The single reached number two on both the Billboard R&B and pop charts. "Not Goin' Cry" features the eccentric Mary J. Blige lamenting a lyric that became an anthem for many women. Rising star Faith Evans delivers a cynical lyric with her adulating vocals.This album also includes three stellar selections by three divas: Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, and Chaka Khan. Their voices just defy time by soaring to admirable feats. The lesser-known acts (Sonja Marie, For Real, and Shanna) impart excellent performances on this outstanding all-female set. ~ Craig Lytle