Album Review: Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart? by K. Michelle

The former Love & Hip-Hop star K. Michelle released her sophomore album yesterday.

In the year between the release of her debut, Rebellious Soul, and this new album K. Michelle’s been quite busy: she’s transformed her album into a musical directed by Idris Elba, released a mixtape, filmed for her own reality TV show and recorded an album. All of this has surely influenced the new album and kept her inspiration flowing.

Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart? represents the next step in the evolution of this R&B star on the come up. It is clearly a more mature effort than her first album: the writing is more polished, the melodies have become stronger and the productions have also gone up a notch.

The record opens slow with “Judge Me” recalling the traditional Bond themes with its brass section. Immediately follows the first single “Love ‘Em All” with its bold electric guitar and synths, giving the image of a K. Michelle in femme fatale mode, who uses sex as a game and a facade to protect herself from the pains of relationships for which she’s not ready (“So I won’t hurt/I keep a lot of them/And I love ’em all”).

“Going Under” is the most upbeat song on the album, a clear single choice,  with an interpolation of the iconic Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s “The Message” blasting throughout the hook. The middle section of the album is made up of the ballads “Cry” and “How Do You Know?,” the latter being a piano-only number with Kimberly’s clearest vocal moments. “Hard to Do” then picks up the pace a bit, another contender for single.

The second track released from the album (though not yet an official single) finds K. Michelle debating about whether or not calling her lover. While on “V.S.O.P.” she took pride in being the side-chick, on “Maybe I Should Call” she shows her doubts and insecurities about getting between a woman and who, she says, should be her man. The song is admittedly inspired by her affair with Idris Elba, with whom she apparently had a little more than a professional relationship. It’s a melodic midtempo ballad that will surely resonate with the public once it catches on.

“Something About The Night” is a Chaka Khan-inspired jam, with a catchy bass riff provided by Pop & Oak that even gets K. Michelle scatting. The latter portion of the album finds the Fantasia-esque “Build a Man,” a 6 minutes track complete with dramatic piano intro that later transforms itself into an old school R&B jam where Kimberly describes how she’d build her ideal man.

The most peculiar song lyrically is perhaps “Drake Would Love Me:” K. Michelle shows us her deep admiration for the Canadian rapper, wishing her man were more like him with a passion that she’s rarely showed before. The references to Drake’s hit records make the song interesting and clever despite the title which could make one smile. The album then closes with a reflective Country-tingled number “God, I Get It” in which the songstress admits her flaws and her willingness to be a better person.

If there is one thing we learn from this album is that K. Michelle has enough talent to make one interesting and consistent album from start to finish. Those who were perhaps left skeptical by her debut will have to re-evaluate her artistry. She’s growing both as a singer and as a writer. K. Michelle has learned that vocal restraint can enrich and highlight her songs and she has made an effort to reveal who she is through her music.

Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart? is truly a surprise and an auspice for female R&B to produce more quality work.

Grade:

85/97

 

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