Released: July 29, 1997
Genre: R&B • soul • pop • hip hop
Producer: Sean “Puffy” Combs • Roderick “Majesty” Wiggins • Malik Pendleton • The Characters • Timbaland • Brain Alexander Morgan • Deric “D-Dot” Angelettie • Marc Kinchen • K. Perez • A.O. Perez
Growing up, SWV was my girls! My mama had their greatest hits cd on rotation and I always thank her for putting me on to them because they are truly one of the best R&B girl groups of all time. By 1997, SWV had two successful hit albums under their belt and a plethora of singles that were hits and classics that stand the test of time.
SWV’s third studio album was titled Release Some Tension, & it was released on July 29, 1997 by RCA Records. Release Some Tension brought back the beauty of the group’s versatility as musicians: flawless R&B ballads that complimented their remarkable harmonies together as a trio, and hip hop tunes that got the party jumping!! The lyrical content falls under the highs and lows of love.
Although the large amount of features from some the best hip hop artists at that time makes the album overwhelming for the most part, Release Some Tension is still a solid R&B album from our singing sisters. The group and others claimed the album was rushed and came to fruition when the group was still promoting their second album New Beginning. Release Some Tension peaked at number 5 on the R&B and 24 on the Billboard 200 charts respectively. The album has since been certified Gold by the RIAA.
Ladies & Gentlemen, I present to you SWV’s Release Some Tension.
Someone (featuring Puff Daddy)
Written by Deric Angelettie • Sean Combs • Jeremy A. Graham • Andrea Martin • Harve Pierre • Kelly Price • Todd Shaw
The album opens with Someone, & rightfully so because you WANT to open it up with a bop! From a lyrical perspective, the song speaks about the desire to find a love that’s worth the wait. Like the quintessential soulmate. Diddy (who went by Puff Daddy at this time,) produced and featured on the record. The song peaked in the top 5 on the R&B charts and 19 on the pop charts respectively. The song has been certified Gold by the RIAA.
** Someone contains samples of Ten Crack Commandments & The World Is Filled by The Notorious B.I.G. & an interpolation of Gucci Time by Schoolly D.
Release Some Tension (featuring Foxy Brown)
Written by Missy Elliott • Inga Marchand • John Daniels • Roderick Wiggins
The title track is a more mellow type of vibe, and features THE Foxy Brown. Originally a song recorded by Missy Elliott as a b-side to the singer of her single Sock it 2 Me, the group covered the song and Foxy’s verse was new rap vocals. Missy re-used the song’s rap verse on Up Jumps Da Boogie by Timbaland and Magoo featuring Aaliyah & Missy.
***Release Some Tension contains a sample of The Ramsey Lewis Trio’s Collage.
Lose My Cool (featuring Redman)
Written by Malik Pendleton • Reginald Noble
Lose My Cool is totally one of my favorite songs from the album. Lyrically, the song is about how the singers composure is nonexistent once they’re around someone that sparks their interest.
Redman is featured on the track, and gives the song a hip hop soul type of vibe. Lose My Cool was released as the third single from the album, but was unable to chart based on the rules on Billboard at the time but charted at number 31 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart.
Love Like This (featuring Lil’ Cease)
Written by Charles Farrah • Kendall Jones • Troy Taylor • Jeff Lorber
Love Like This is a song that speaks about never thinking that you’d find a love after feeling alone for a long. It speaks about the feelings that you feel when someone comes in your life and they make it a refreshing experience. Lil’ Cease from Junior M.A.F.I.A. fame is featured on the song.
***Love Like This contains a sample of Rain Dance by The Jeff Lorber Fusion band, which is known for being sampled by Lil’ Kim for her 1996 song Crush on You.
Can We (featuring Missy Elliott)
Written by Missy Elliott • Timothy Mosley
Can We is a SONG! My mama would play this single’s cd out when I was a kid so the song is very nostalgic to me period! Released as the lead single on their album and the Booty Call Soundtrack, Can We is a lustful track about getting it on with a fine man.
**Can We was interpolated by Missy Elliott for The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)
Written by Brian Alexander Morgan • Jaco Pastorius
Sometimes it’s soft as a misty rain, that gently touches my soul..SWV, Rain, 1997
Rain is literally one of the best songs to come from the 1990s, and I will be willing to argue about that! Written by longtime collaborator Brain Morgan, Rain is a song that’s lyrically about love. Despite the reputation the song has gotten for being thought to be a sexual song, the group has disputed that and I’m glad because it is truly one of the greatest love songs I’ve ever heard period. It has a nostalgic vibe to it, and the harmonies is truly flawless. Rain was released as the fourth and final single from the album, peaking at number 7 and 25 on the R&B & pop charts respectively.
***Rain contains a sample of Jaco Pastorius’ Portrait of Tracy
***Rain has been sampled by artists such as Bryson Tiller, Chingy, Tyga, Master P, Coco Jones, and Twista, & has been covered by the Sunday Service Choir.
Give It Up (featuring Lil’ Kim)
Written by Deric Angelettie • Kelly Price • Kimberly Jones • Darryl French • Mark James
Give It Up has Taj in her baggggggggggggg with Lil’ Kim honey!!! They’re talking about getting their freak on and I love it! Definitely one of my favorite album cuts from the group.
***Give It Up contains a sample of The J.B.’s Givin’ Up Food For Funk.
Come and Get Some (featuring E-40)
Written by Cheryl Gamble • Earl Stevens • Marc Kinchen
Come and Get Some is a lustful song featuring E-40 and is a nice vibe for the bedroom.
When U Cry
Written by Darryl Ellis • Paul Richmond • Ruben Locke Jr • Patricia Deige Muldrow • Kevin Perez • Tony Pérez
When U Cry is definitely one of my favorite SWV songs of all time. From a lyrical perspective, the song is about reciprocation and how when you pain, they pain. It’s truly a song I resonate with so much!
***When U Cry contains a sample of Tyrone Davis’ In The Mood.
Written by Charles Farrar • Dawn Beckmann • Troy Taylor
Lose Myself talks to you just wanting no one but your favorite person period. I love it!
Here For You
Written by Charles Farrar • Johntá Austin • Troy Taylor • Kevin Evans
Here For You has them classic SWV harmonies!!!! Definitely one of their hidden gems. From a lyrical perspective, the song speaks to always being there for the one you love no matter what.
***Here For You contains a sample of Brenda Russell’s Think It Over.
Gettin’ Funky (featuring Snoop Dogg)
Written by Calvin Broadus • Leon Sylvers III
The album ends with an uptempo hip hop record with a feature from Snoop Dogg!!!!
***Gettin’ Funky contains a sample of The D.O.C.’s It Funky Enough, which was sampled itself by Misdemeanor by Foster Sylvers.
Release Some Tension does a great job with trying to recapture the hip hop side of SWV like we saw with It’s About Time, & does a great job at doing so..while some of the blockbuster features on the album from the rappers does seem overwhelming at times. The group disbanded after this album, and didn’t release another album until 2012, but it goes to show that SWV is truly one of the best girl groups to grace the world of music period. -MW.