Following their best-selling debut album Wilson Phillips, the trio enlisted the production again of Glen Ballard, who had also produced their debut.
The album's songs had a big contrast with the ones on their debut. While the majority of the songs on their debut album featured upbeat songs with positive, lightweight lyrics, Shadows and Light featured darker songwriting from the trio that dealt with personal issues, such as the estrangement with their fathers ("Flesh and Blood", "All the Way From New York"), or child abuse ("Where Are You?").
The album received mixed reviews and, although peaking at #4 in the USA and gaining a Platinum disc, it was seen as a commercial failure. Three singles were released off the album, and they had much less success than the ones on their debut. The ballad "You Won't See Me Cry" peaked at #20, the uptempo "Give It Up" peaked at #30 and the final single, the ballad "Flesh and Blood" failed to reach the top 100 altogether, peaking at #115. By the end of the year, Chynna Phillips left the band and the group disbanded for 12 years.