First Hit #1: November 25, 1995
There’s something relaxed about Exhale. Whitney Houston usually goes for very big performances, but this is subtler, smaller than she usually gives us. It also sounds a bit more contented, as though she’s kind of enjoying the idea of just kind of keeping it a bit low key instead of going all out, Houston vocal explosion style. It’s also got that oddly calming chorus, with the shoop sounds substituted for any expected lyrics. It’s just a relaxing sound, maybe reminiscent of the sea. It’s comforting in a way, it’s a sound that exists for atmosphere. The song overall is kind of a cool down lap, which is good when you’re listening to it so soon after something high energy like Fantasy.