Executive produced by LaBelle, Flame features songs from the likes of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who contributed to much of the compositions and productions on the album while other producers including Gerald Levert, Brenda Russell and David Foster are also featured on the album. The album features the international hit and number-one dance single, "When You Talk About Love", and the R&B radio favorite, "Shoe Was on the Other Foot". The album is also notable for including the ballad, "Don't Block the Blessings", which is the title of LaBelle's best-selling autobiography released a year before Flame.
Allmusic editor Leo Stanley found that Flame "is largely a slick, seductive collection of ballads punctuated by a handful of restrained dance-pop numbers. And in that sense, it's no different than any of her '90s albums, but that isn't a bad thing, since LaBelle works with top-notch, classy professionals [...] But instead of making the album sound diverse and sprawling, their highly skilled craftsmanship keeps the album unified. All that effort makes the record a pleasurable, listenable album, yet there aren't enough killer hooks or great songs to make it a standout in LaBelle's catalog. Instead, Flame is merely a good Patti LaBelle record, and sometimes that's all you need."
Larry Flick from Billboard wrote, "And the yummy singles from "Flame" just keep on coming. LaBelle effectively reinvents the Reba McEntire and Linda Davis hit as a R&Bballad. David Foster's production has ample soul, swelling from a quietly percussive opening into a grand closing that allow Miss Patti to do what she does best—belt with the power to shatter glass. With the previous "Shoe Was On The Other Foot" poised for club success, it's looking like a LaBelle-filled fall. What a joy!"