“Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” is a song by American recording artist Whitney Houston, featured on the soundtrack for the film Waiting to Exhale. It was released as the lead single from the soundtrack on November 7, 1995, by Arista Records. The song was written and produced by Babyface. A mid-tempo R&B ballad, composed in the key of C major, the song’s lyrics speaks about growing up and learning to let go. The song garnered mostly positive reviews from critics, many of whom noted Houston’s vocal maturity in the song.
In the United States, it became the third single to debut on top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in Billboard’s history, and Houston’s eleventh (and final) number one single. It was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments of one million copies. The song also reached number one in Canada and Spain, and the top 10 in Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Sweden. Additionally, it peaked within the top 20 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. At the 39th Annual Grammy Awards, held on February 26, 1997, “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” received four nominations, including the Grammy Award for the Song of the Year, and won in the category of Best R&B Song. The song also won four other awards, including a Soul Train Music Award.
The music video for the song, directed by Forest Whitaker, shows close-up scenes of Houston inter-cut with scenes from the film Waiting to Exhale. Houston performed the song at the 39th Grammy Awards ceremony, and on the HBO special Classic Whitney Live from Washington, D.C. in October 1997. It was included in the set-list of Houston’s three tours and select dates of various concerts.
“Fantasy” is a song by American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey. It was released on September 12, 1995 by Columbia Records as the lead single for her fifth studio album, Daydream (1995). The song was written by Carey and Dave Hall, both serving as primary producers alongside Sean Combs. The song heavily samples Tom Tom Club’s 1981 song “Genius of Love,” and incorporates various other beats and grooves arranged by the former. The song’s lyrics describe a woman who is in love with a man, and how every time she sees him she starts fantasizing about an impossible relationship with him. The remix for the song features rap verses from Ol’ Dirty Bastard, something Carey arranged to assist in her transition into the hip-hop market.
The song was positively reviewed by contemporary music critics, many of whom complimented its clever use of the “Genius of Love” hook as well as Carey’s vocal performance. “Fantasy” experienced strong success around the world, especially in the United States. It became the second song in Billboard history, and the first by a female, to debut atop the Hot 100. Additionally, aside from topping the chart for eight consecutive weeks, the song achieved strong success outside the United States, topping the charts in Australia, Canada and New Zealand and becoming a top-five hit in Belgium, Finland, France and the United Kingdom.
Carey performed “Fantasy” live on several television and award show appearances around the world. Carey performed the song at the 23rd annual American Music Awards, held on January 29, 1996. Additionally, it was performed live on British music chart program Top of the Pops and on French television. “Fantasy” was part of the set-lists on several of Carey’s succeeding tours, making its debut during the album’s accompanying set of concerts, the Daydream World Tour and is featured on her compilation albums, #1’s (1998), Greatest Hits (2001), The Remixes (2003) and Playlist: The Very Best of Mariah Carey (2010).
The cover of the single was shot by top fashion photographer Steven Meisel. The cover for her album Daydream is a cropped version of the single cover. Carey directed the music video for “Fantasy”, making it her directorial debut. Carey created the video’s concept and chose the filming location. After being disappointed with the final result in many of her previous videos, Carey decided to single handedly direct the video. The video showed Carey’s roller blading through an amusement park, singing and enjoying herself. Midway through the video, Ol’ Dirty Bastard makes a cameo appearance as a clown. The video concludes with Carey dancing atop the sunroof of a car, with many others present and enjoying the music and celebration.
“Gangsta’s Paradise” is a song by American rapper Coolio, featuring singer L.V.. The song was released on Coolio’s album of the same name, as well as the soundtrack for the 1995 film Dangerous Minds. It samples the chorus and instrumentation of Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song “Pastime Paradise”.
The song was listed at number 85 on Billboard’s Greatest Songs of All-Time and number one biggest selling single of 1995 on U.S. Billboard. In 2008, it was ranked number 38 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop. Coolio was awarded a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance, two MTV Video Music Award’s for Best Rap Video and for Best Video from a Film and a Billboard Music Award for the song/album. The song was voted as the best single of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll.
The song has sold over 5 million copies in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany alone, and at least 5.7 million worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time. Coolio has performed this song live at the 1995 Billboard Music Awards with L.V. and Wonder, at the 1996 Grammy Awards with L.V., and also with Dutch singer Trijntje Oosterhuis. The song is also used in other films including Sound of the Sea, The Green Hornet, Bad Teacher, The Expendables 2, Pain & Gain, Step Up: All In, and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.
“You Are Not Alone” is the second single from Michael Jackson’s album HIStory. The R&B ballad’s composition has been attributed by R. Kelly in response to difficult times in his personal life. He then forwarded a bare demo tape to Jackson, who liked the song and decided to produce it with Kelly. Jackson’s interest in the song was also linked to recent events in his personal life. The song was later covered by Kelly himself as a hidden track on his tenth solo studio album Love Letter.
The vast majority of critical reaction to “You Are Not Alone” was positive, although it did not attain unanimous praise. The song was the recipient of Grammy and American Music Award nominations. The corresponding music video, which featured Jackson and his then-wife Lisa Marie Presley was also notable for its scenes of semi-nudity.
Commercially, the song was a significant success. It holds a Guinness World Record as the first song in the 37-year history of the Billboard Hot 100 to debut at number one; it was later certified platinum by the RIAA. The song peaked highly in all major markets. “You Are Not Alone” was Michael Jackson’s 13th and last number one hit song in the United States during his lifetime.
A clip of the song was remixed and released in 2011, as a song with “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”, on the Immortal album.
“Kiss from a Rose” is a song from Seal’s second eponymous album. The song was first released as a single in July 1994. Re-released in 1995, it was included on the Batman Forever film soundtrack, helping it top the charts in the U.S. and Australia. At the 1996 Grammy Awards, it won awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
“Kiss from a Rose” was written in 1987, several years prior to the release of Seal’s eponymous debut album from 1991. After writing the song Seal felt “embarrassed by it” and “threw the tape in the corner”. Seal did not present it to producer Trevor Horn until the recording sessions for Seal II. In 2015, Seal said of the song: “To be honest, I was never really that proud of it, though I like what Trevor did with the recording. He turned that tape from my corner into another 8 million record sales and my name became a household name.”
“Kiss from a Rose” was the second single taken from the Batman Forever film soundtrack, and topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for one week in August 1995. It also went to number four on the UK Singles Chart. The single originally made it to #20 in 1994, but upon being re-released after being featured in the film, it reached the top position. It also won the MTV Movie Award for Best Song from a Movie in the 1996 edition. Seal talked about the long, strange journey that the song went through on The Brian McKnight Show season finale that aired 30 May 2010. He described how the song initially dropped out of the charts shortly after its release. Joel Schumacher subsequently called Seal, and requested use of the song to play over a love scene between the characters played by Nicole Kidman and Val Kilmer in Batman Forever. Although the song was eventually not incorporated into this scene, it was instead used to play over the end credits; Seal believes this change contributed to the song’s eventual popularity.
“Waterfalls” is a song by American recording group TLC. It was written by band member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes with Marqueze Etheridge and Organized Noize for TLC’s second album, CrazySexyCool (1994), featuring production by the latter. The song was released as the third single from the album on May 29, 1995 in the United States, followed by a United Kingdom release on August 5, 1995.
Often considered the group’s signature song, “Waterfalls” was an international hit, topping the charts in many different territories. The song spent seven weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, giving the group their second U.S. number one. The song was the number two song of the year on Billboard’s 1995 year-end chart. “Waterfalls” also peaked at number one in New Zealand, Switzerland, and Germany, while reaching the top ten in many other countries. “Waterfalls” received critical acclaim, earning two Grammy nominations at the 38th Annual Grammy Awards in 1996 for Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
The song tackled issues of the illegal drug trade, promiscuity and HIV/AIDS. Jarett E. Nolan of BMG noted that “Waterfalls” was the first number one song ever to reference AIDS in one of its verses. The accompanying music video for the song reflected its socially conscious lyrics. With a million-dollar budget, the video was an MTV staple credited for giving the single much of its success. It stayed atop the MTV Video Monitor chart for over a month, making TLC the first act to ever achieve this feat. The video won four MTV Video Music Awards in 1995, including top honors for Video of the Year. TLC was the first African American group or artist to ever receive the trophy.
“Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” is a song written by Bryan Adams, Michael Kamen and Robert John “Mutt” Lange, and recorded by Adams for the film Don Juan DeMarco. The melody is used as a musical motif throughout the film, and the song is featured three times in the movie, twice performed by other artists in Spanish, and finally performed by Adams himself during the closing credits. The Adams version of the song, which features flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia, is featured on the soundtrack album and also on the album 18 til I Die. It was at number one for five weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, making it the third number one song for the songwriting team, and went on to earn them their second Oscar nomination.
“This Is How We Do It” is the debut single by American singer Montell Jordan. It was released by Def Jam Recordings on February 6, 1995 as the lead single from his debut album of the same name. The single was Def Jam’s first R&B release.
The song is representative of the hip hop soul style popular at the time, featuring Jordan singing over an enhanced sample of Slick Rick’s “Children’s Story” which in turn samples Bob James’ “Nautilus”. “This Is How We Do It” peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks from 15 April to 27 May 1995, and was also number one for seven weeks on the R&B singles chart. The single sold one million copies domestically and earned a platinum certification from the RIAA.
A cover of the song by Mis-Teeq appears in the movie Ali G Indahouse and on its soundtrack album. A cover by AlunaGeorge is a bonus track on their debut studio album Body Music.
The song appears in Kinect game Dance Central 2 and Saints Row IV on one of the in game radio stations “107.7 The Mix FM” and is played during the ending of the game where all the characters dance to the song.
The song earned Jordan a Grammy Award nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance at the 38th Annual Grammy Awards.
“Take a Bow” is a song by American singer Madonna from her sixth studio album Bedtime Stories (1994). It was released as the album’s second single on October 28, 1994, by Maverick Records. It is a midtempo pop ballad written and produced by Madonna and Babyface. The song also appears on her compilation albums Something to Remember (1995), GHV2 (2001) and Celebration (2009). Following the sexually explicit persona portrayed by Madonna on her previous album, Erotica, the singer wanted to tone down her image for Bedtime Stories. She started collaborating with Babyface, whose work with other music artists had impressed her. “Take a Bow” was developed from this collaboration, after Madonna listened to the beat and the chords of the demo structure of the song.
Recorded at The Hit Factory Studios in New York, “Take a Bow” was backed by a full orchestra. It was also the first time that Babyface had worked with live strings, per Madonna’s suggestion. Containing oriental pentatonic strings, giving the impression of Chinese or Japanese opera, “Take a Bow” lyrically talks about unrequited love, and Madonna saying goodbye. It received favorable reviews from music critics, who praised the song’s soulful, poetic lyrics. It was a commercial success in the United States, becoming Madonna’s eleventh number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, topping the chart for seven weeks. It also reached number one in Canada, and the top ten in Italy, Switzerland and New Zealand. The single had moderate success in the United Kingdom, reaching number 16 on the UK Singles Chart, ending Madonna’s record-holding string of 35 consecutive top-ten hits there.
The music video for “Take a Bow” was directed by Michael Haussman, and was filmed in Ronda, Spain. The video depicts Madonna as a bullfighter’s (played by real-life Spanish bullfighter Emilio Muñoz) neglected lover, yearning for his love. It won the Best Female Video award at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards. Journalistic and academic analysis of the video included its plotline, usage of religious iconography, themes and motifs of feminism and submission, as well as its impact on contemporary music videos. In order to promote Bedtime Stories, Madonna performed “Take a Bow” on a few occasions, including live with Babyface at the 1995 American Music Awards. In 2016, she added the song to the setlist of the Asian and Oceanian legs of her Rebel Heart Tour and her one-off Sydney concert Tears of a Clown.
“Creep” is the lead single by American girl group TLC from their second album, CrazySexyCool. The song was a critical success, topping Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for nine consecutive weeks in 1994 and 1995. The song also became TLC’s first #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and remained there for four weeks. It was nominated for two Grammy Awards at the 1996 Grammy Awards, winning the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. In addition, Creep won the Billboard Music Award for the #1 R&B single of 1995. It was the third most successful single on the Billboard Year-End chart of 1995, finishing behind their other successful hit, “Waterfalls”, on the 1995 Billboard Year-End Hot 100 Charts. Creep is considered to be one of the most popular mainstream R&B songs to date, and its accompanying music video continues to receive heavy rotation on MTV and VH1.