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Why Does It Hurt So Bad

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Title: Why Does It Hurt So Bad  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Waiting to Exhale (soundtrack), Exhale (Shoop Shoop), Count On Me (Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans song), Whitney Houston, I Believe in You and Me
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Why Does It Hurt So Bad

"Why Does It Hurt So Bad"
Bust of an African-American woman, from her left profile. She is wearing a white dress, covering her neck. Having a somber expression, the woman has short, light-brown colored hair. Beside her image on the white background, the name of the artist and the song is written
Single by Whitney Houston
from the album Waiting to Exhale: Original Soundtrack Album
B-side "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" [Junior's Happy Hand Bag Mix]
Released July 22, 1996 (1996-07-22)
Recorded October 1995
Genre R&B
Length 4:37
Label Arista
Writer(s) Babyface
Producer(s) Babyface
Whitney Houston singles chronology
"Count on Me"
"Why Does It Hurt So Bad"
"I Believe in You and Me"
Waiting to Exhale: Original Soundtrack Album track listing
"Exhale (Shoop Shoop)"
"Why Does It Hurt So Bad"
"Let It Flow"

"Why Does It Hurt So Bad" is a song recorded by American singer Whitney Houston for the 1995 film Waiting to Exhale. It was released on July 7, 1996, by Arista Records as the seventh and final single from the accompanying soundtrack. The song was written and produced solely by Babyface. Musically, it is an R&B ballad, and the lyrics chronicle a lovelorn lament.

The song garnered positive reviews from critics, who commended Houston's vocal effort. It charted in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number twenty-six. It also reached a peak position of number twenty-two in the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and number six on the Adult Contemporary chart. In Canada, the song reached a peak of number forty-five on the RPM Singles chart. Although there is no official music video for the song, a performance of the song at the 1996 MTV Movie Awards was taped and is used as a promotional clip. The song was later included as a medley, in her My Love Is Your Love World Tour (1999), along with a few other songs.


  • Background 1
  • Composition 2
  • Reception 3
  • Music video and live performances 4
  • Track listing 5
  • Credits and personnel 6
  • Charts 7
    • Chart positions 7.1
    • Year-end charts 7.2
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Houston starred in the 1995 romance film Waiting to Exhale, directed by Forest Whittaker. Although Houston did not intend to contribute to the film's soundtrack, when Whittaker hired Babyface to score the soundtrack, she opted in.[1] Babyface, Houston and some other African-American female singers recorded songs for the album.[1] The song was one of the final additions to the soundtrack.[1] "Why Does It Hurt So Bad" was originally written by Babyface for Houston, two years prior to the release of Waiting to Exhale,[1] but Houston refused to record it at that time.[1] "I wasn't really in the mood for singing about why it hurts so bad," said Houston.[1] Two years later, according to Chris Willman of Entertainment Weekly, the emotions of the movie merged with the real-life circumstances of Houston's troubled marriage to Bobby Brown.[1] "Now, I'm ready to sing not only the joys of things, but the pains of things, also," Houston explained.[1]


A 27-second sample from Whitney Houston's "Why Does It Hurt So Bad". The song uses a subtle amount of vocal harmony, while the lyrics chronicle a lament.

Problems playing this file? See .

"Why Does It Hurt So Bad" is an R&B ballad.[2] The song was written and produced by Kenneth Brian Edmonds, popularly known as "Babyface". According to the sheet music book for The Greatest Hits at, the song is written in the key of B major, and moves at a tempo of 69 beats per minute.[3] It is set in time signature of common time and features a basic chord progression of B/E–Em–Cm–G7.[3] Houston's vocals span from the note of Am7 to the note of D5.[3] According to Stephen Holden of New York Times, the song is a "lovelorn lament with a realistic twist".[4] He noted that, through the verses, the singer congratulates herself for breaking up with an abusive boyfriend and admits that she is still in love.[4]


The song garnered mainly positive reviews from critics. Craig Lytle of Allmusic noted that Houston's voice "sailed" through the song.[5] Christopher John Farley of TIME commented Houston "particularly held her own", with a "masterly balance of pop, zip, and soulful melancholy".[6] Steve Knopper of Newsday wrote: "It's lower-key and the singer, who also stars in the film, doesn't feel compelled to perform constant vocal feats."[7] A writer for Boston Herald noted that the song was "understated".[8] Similarly, Larry Flick of Billboard commented that the song should have been released as the follow-up to "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)".[2] "Paired with Babyface, Houston is positively luminous on [this] heartbreak ballad, performing with a perfect blend of theatrical melodrama and guttural soul," he added.[2] Deborah Wilker of South Florida Sun-Sentinel was mixed in her review commenting that the song was a "predictably histrionic follow-up" to "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)".[9] But, Nick Krewen of The Spectator was even less enthusiastic, writing "[...] the two guaranteed [Whitney Houston] hits – 'Exhale (Shoop Shoop)' and 'Why Does It Hurt So Bad' – don't really offer anything new."[10] Similarly, Cary Darling of Rome News-Tribune gave a negative review. She noted that "[the] ballad 'Why Does It Hurt So Bad' is [more] standard Whitney-fare".[11]

Released as the seventh and final single from the Waiting to Exhale: Original Soundtrack Album, the song debuted at number 60 on the Billboard Hot 100, on the issue dated August 3, 1996.[12] On the same issue, the song debuted at number 34 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart.[12] The song later reached a peak of number 26 on the Hot 100, and 22 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart. It also reached number six on the Adult Contemporary chart, while reaching a peak of 39 on the Adult Pop Songs chart.[13] In Canada, the song debuted at number 98 on the RPM Singles chart, on the July 22, 1996 issue.[14] Later, on the September 15, 1996 issue, it reached a peak of number 45.[15]

Music video and live performances

The song was not promoted through an official music video, although Houston appeared at the 1996 MTV Movie Awards held at Walt Disney Studios, Burbank and performed "Why Does It Hurt So Bad".[16] The performance was directed and taped by Bruce Gowers[17] and was later used as a promotional clip to accompany the song.[18] The performance features Houston sitting on a chair, wearing a white outfit, and singing the song.

Houston performed the song on her My Love Is Your Love World Tour, in 1999. The song was performed as a part of the "Movie Medley", along with "I Believe in You and Me", "It Hurts Like Hell", originally performed by Aretha Franklin, and "I Will Always Love You". This performance was taped in Sopot, Poland, on August 22, 1999 and broadcast on Polish television channel, TVP1.[19]

Track listing

Credits and personnel

Retrieved from CD liner notes[22]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Willman, Chris (1995-11-24). "The Greatest Breath of All".  
  2. ^ a b c Flick, Larry (1996-06-22). "Billboard Reviews – Singles". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 108 (25): 86.  
  3. ^ a b c "Digital Sheet Music – Whitney Houston – Greatest Hits".  
  4. ^ a b Holden, Stephen (1995-12-03). "Recordings View; Holding Nothing In on Love". New York Times ( 
  5. ^ Lytle, Craig. "Waiting to Exhale – Original Soundtrack".  
  6. ^ Farley, Christopher John (1995-12-04). "Whitney Houston: No Miss Prissy".  
  7. ^ Knopper, Steve (1995-12-24). "Sweet and Sour Whitney". Newsday ( 
  8. ^ "'"Discs Flow is pure on 'Exhale. Boston Herald (Patrick J. Purcell). 1995-12-08. p. s.15. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  9. ^ Wilker, Deborah (1995-11-16). "Not too much Houston, and too much Etheridge". South Florida Sun-Sentinel ( 
  10. ^ Krewen, Nick (1995-12-07). "Teenage Head explodes on party disc". The Spectator (United Kingdom:  
  11. ^ Darling, Cary (1995-11-24). "Babyface master of smooth". Rome News-Tribune (Burgett H. Mooney III). Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  12. ^ a b "Billboard Hot 100 Singles".  
  13. ^ a b c d e "Whitney Houston – Why Does It Hurt So Bad charts". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  14. ^ "RPM Singles Chart". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  15. ^ a b "RPM Singles Chart". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  16. ^ "1996 MTV Movie Awards". MTV.  
  17. ^ "CMT: Videos: Whitney Houston: Why Does It Hurt So Bad".  
  18. ^ "Whitney Houston – Why Does It Hurt So Bad (Live)". MTV. MTV Networks (Viacom). Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  19. ^ "Forest Opera – Obiekty – Bałtycka Agencja Artystyczna BART" (in Polish). Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  20. ^ Why Does It Hurt So Bad (US CD-one Single liner notes).  
  21. ^ Why Does It Hurt So Bad (US CD-two Single liner notes).  
  22. ^ Why Does It Hurt So Bad (CD Single). Whitney Houston.  
  23. ^  
  24. ^ "RPM YEAR END Top 100 Adult Contemporary Tracks".  
  25. ^ 1996 HOT R&B Singles

External links

  • Why Does It Hurt So Bad at Discogs
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