Anybody familiar with the reality television show Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, will be acquainted with the unapologetic ferocity of one of its most notorious stars, K. Michelle. Accompanying this no-bullshit persona was last year’s debut appropriately named Rebellious Soul, branded by a brash and vulgar reality that was both earnest and refreshing. K Michelle’s sophomore album, Anybody Wanna Buy A Heart? sees the powerhouse R&B vocalist give more airtime to her softer side. While AWBAH offers an unexpected subtlety, K. Michelle remains just as unapologetic as her debut would suggest, peppering the tracks with convincing expletives that create a superb candour throughout the album.
Anybody Wanna Buy A Heart begins with the perfect combination of theatrics and drama in Judge Me, which are buttressed by an impressive musical arrangement and even more spellbinding vocals. Although adhering to some of the more generic musical devices of R&B, K. Michelle retains that characteristic audacity in the album’s lead single, Love ‘Em All.
Cry is an affecting ballad about the pain of heartbreak and that insatiable desire to take an eye for an eye. The wailing chorus makes use of K. Michelle’s incredible range, while she promises that her ex-lover will “Pay me in tears / you owe me for all these years,” and hurt as much as she. K. Michelle continues the heart rendering vitriol in the piano-driven, stripped back track How Do You Know, singing, “I’d rather be cold than wrapped in love.” Before negotiating the torturous regret of separation in Hard To Do and Maybe I Should Call, where she concisely sums up the universal experience: “Missing you is way too hard to do / I’d rather be fucking you”.
She lightens the mood with a throwback to the sensual, soulful funk of bygone eras in Something About The Night, which includes a superb section of scatting, and illustrates the sonic diversity the artist wanted to explore with her second album. Build A Man opens with a beautiful, fluid piano before transforming into a soul-kissed disco track fantasising about creating your own perfect man. The fantasy continues on the seriously stunning, but charmingly amusing, Drake Would Love Me, before K. Michelle offers up the country-inspired, God I Get it, whose plucked banjo pops up out of the blue to accompany the singer’s consistently impressive vocals.
There’s a sincerity and realistic self-analysis present in this album that eclipses the inescapable drama that has enveloped K. Michelle’s personal and public life. The singer’s musicianship and vocal talents are undeniable here, and the glimpses of subtlety, sensitivity and introspectiveness that exist alongside her notorious ferocity and boldness create a great balance that would be criminal to overlook.