The Comfort Zone – Vanessa Williams and Her Second Album
After a gold debut album and an enormous pop hit, Williams seemed poised to take her career into new arenas. She opted for a more sophisticated sound for her sophomore effort.
It was a smart move. With a glossy set of stylish pop tunes, The Comfort Zone showcased Williams at her most alluring.
The Right Stuff
The film adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s book about the Project Mercury astronauts was a smash success and is still beloved. The movie is a social comedy, thriller, inspirational and — let’s not forget — patriotic wallop.
The sultry title track opens the album with a hypnotic sound that establishes Williams’ regal persona. Kipper Jones (who produced the single) enlisted Hubert Laws, a renowned jazz and classical flautist, to play a prominent flute part.
Her upgrade of the Isley Brothers’ “Work to Do” is both daring and utterly convincing. She belts the refrain confidently, clad in a modern Rosie the Riveter look that features feminist messaging in the interstitials. The album stretches across R&B, old-school soul, and jazz to showcase Williams’ range as a vocalist.
Save the Best for Last
Save the Best for Last is a timeless love song that tells the story of unrequited love that eventually comes together. It is a beautiful reminder that sometimes the most meaningful experiences in life require patience and faith. Written by Jon Lind, Wendy Waldman and Phil Galdston, the elegant ballad became a global hit and helped Williams establish herself as a talented vocalist.
Although it did not win any major awards, the track was a huge success that catapulted Williams into the mainstream spotlight. Its universal themes and timeless message of hope and love have inspired many listeners over the years. As a result, the song has stood the test of time and remains one of Vanessa Williams’ most beloved songs. However, different listeners may interpret it in various ways based on their own experiences and perspectives.
2 of a Kind
Despite the death threats and manufactured outrage of the Penthouse photos, Vanessa Williams came back stronger than ever. She parlayed her big media profile into successful careers in film, television, and Broadway.
She showcased her luxurious voice and diva attitude on The Comfort Zone, a glossy pop record that featured some pretty ballads and sexy midtempo numbers. She sounded especially hot on the disco-inspired remake of the Isley Brothers’ “Work to Do.”
The highlight is the title track, an empowering song about breaking free from the comfort zone and pursuing personal growth. Its meaningful lyrics and soulful delivery made this song an enduring classic. Various listeners have interpreted the song’s message in many different ways, which is why it continues to resonate with audiences decades after its release.
Just for Tonight
Typically, it takes a while for artists to find their groove after a major debut and Vanessa Williams was no exception. But on her second album, The Comfort Zone, she proved she wasn’t a one-hit wonder. The album was full of smooth songs that were perfect for the clubs. From the club beats on “Running Back to You” to sexy R&B ballads like “Work to Do,” the album had it all.
The album’s most popular track was “Just for Tonight”. This song is a seductive track that features a beautiful sounding vocal from Vanessa Williams. Her phrasing is on point and she sings every line with passion. This song will make you want to dance the night away. This is a must listen for any Vanessa Williams fan.
Running Back to You
The most important single of Williams’s career, “Running Back to You” helped solidify her as a successful artist. It also served as a reminder to all listeners of the importance of breaking free from their comfort zones in order to experience life’s full potential.
While Kipper Jones and Reggie Stewart conjured up a daydream sensuality to elevate the song, it was Williams’s luxurious voice that carried the track through to success. Her sultry vocal tones and witty diva attitude on promotional interviews gave her a distinct edge over the other singers who were competing with her for mainstream radio play.
With a hit album and music videos in heavy rotation, Williams was able to transcend the Penthouse scandal and Miss America fracas and prove she was here to stay.