Vanessa Williams’ “The Comfort Zone” album review

Released: August 20, 1991

Label: Wing/Mercury

Producer: Vanessa Williams, Keith Thomas, Brian McKnight, Kenni Hairston, Derek Bramble, Gerry Brown, Bruce Carbone, Dave Darlington, DJ L.A. Jay, Ed Eckstine, Kipper Jones, Phase 5, Mark Stevens, Reggie Stewart.

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Vanessa Lynn Williams is a LEGEND! We were introduced to Vanessa in 1983 when she was the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America. Unfortunately the nude photo scandal forced her to resign.

However, Vanessa overcame that ordeal with a successful career as a singer, actress and fashion designer. I always say Vanessa got the last laugh, cause she came out the gate ready for BLOOD with her music career. For more information, see (Vanessa Willams: Give Our Legends Their Flowers )

Vanessa’s debut album “The Right Stuff” was released in the Spring of 1988, & was certified Gold by the RIAA with the success of singles “The Right Stuff,” “(He’s Got) The Look,” “Dreamin'” & “Darlin’ I.”

Vanessa came back swinging with “The Comfort Zone.” Released the summer of 1991, “Comfort Zone” is Vanessa’s greatest success to date, being certified triple platinum by the RIAA.

The album was also nominated for five Grammys: Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “Running Back to You,” Record of the Year & Song of the Year for “Save the Best for Last” & Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “The Comfort Zone” the following year.

I am honored to present to you: my review of Vanessa Williams’ second studio album..The Comfort Zone.

The Comfort Zone

Written by Reggie Stewart & Kipper Jones.

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The title track is one of my favorite songs! Vanessa stayed that she wanted this song to be the lead single, but her record company decided on “Running Back to You” because they wanted an energetic song for the summer.

The Comfort Zone is a R&B feel good record that has Vanessa telling her lover to come inside their world of love. The song contains samples from Run -DMC, Marvin Gaye & Kraftwerk.

Running Back to You

Written by: Trevor Gale & Kenni Hairston

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“I think that you’re living in a fantasy, gotta be them or me.”

Running Back to You is a whole BOP! The lead single from the album, Vanessa tells the indecisive man to not expect her to come back to him.

The song samples John Davis & The Monster Orchestra, The J.B.’s, Funk Inc & Milli Vanilli.

Work to Do

Written by: O’Kelly Isley, Ronald Isley & Rudolph Isley.

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Vanessa turned an Isley Brothers classic to a feminist anthem with her cover of Work to Do! Featuring Black Sheep, Work To Do has a modern twist compared to the original and other versions. Vanessa makes a statement with women receiving equal pay.

You Gotta Go

Written by: Dr. Jam, Brian McKnight & Mark Stevens.

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You Gotta Go is one of the underrated gems from Comfort Zone. Featuring Brian McKnight, You Gotta Go is a slow record telling a tale of a love gone awry.

Still In Love

Written by: Derek Bramble.

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One of my favorite ballads on the album is a cover of Angela Bofill’s “Still In Love.” Vanessa is amazing with channeling her inner Angela for this record.

Save the Best for Last

Written by: Phil Galdston, Bryndle & Jon Lind.

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A SONG! Considered Vanessa’s signature song, the ballad is about a woman who adored by a man who stands by and watches as the object of her desires goes through years of dating until he decides to shoot his shot.

What Will I Tell My Heart?

Written by: Irving Gordon, Jack Lawrence & Peter Tinturin.

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This jazz influenced record has Vanessa wondering how will she overcome a break up that’s easy to explain to everyone but her heart.

Strangers Eyes

Written by: Dr. Jam, Gerry Brown & Mark Stevens.

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This rainy and smoky ballad is one of my favorites!

2 of a Kind

Written by: Vanessa Williams & Dr. Jam.

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This energetic number is basically a song that shows how a new love makes them feel so compatible to each other.

Freedom Dance (Get Free!)

Written by: Reggie Stewart & Kipper Jones

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This club dancing hit is truly amazing!

Just for Tonight

Written by: Cynthia Weil & Keith Thomas

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Just For Tonight is one of those quiet Storm ballads that showcase how Vanessa’s vocal abilities are pure FLAMES. 🙌🏾😭 the fourth single from the album also discusses how she wants to experience one last night with her partner before the relationship ends.

One Reason

Written by: Cynthia Weil & Keith Thomas

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One reason is Flawless!

Better off Now

Written by: Keith Thomas & Bryndle

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One of my favorite gems of Vanessa’s.

Goodbye

Written by: Keith Thomas & Gary Chapman.

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I adoreeeeee Vanessa’s ballads. Goodbye is one of the best ones! Brian McKnight was on the background vocals. Need I say more?!

Vanessa’s “The Comfort Zone” is easily one of the best Contemporary R&B albums of the 90s. Vanessa will go on to have an even more amazing career as a singer and actress. Give Vanessa her dues while she’s with us. She is one of the most talented beauty queens of all time. -MJ