Music

K. Michelle: Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart

For all the major moves she made this time around on her second album, K. Michelle still can't break away from the shackles of her contemporaries.


K. Michelle

Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart

Label: Atlantic
US Release Date: 2014-12-09
UK Release Date: 2014-12-09
Amazon
iTunes

There is no denying that K. Michelle has come into her own, despite being a reality television star. Her debut album, Rebellious Soul, was brilliant due to the simple fact that it defied logic: it was a rather solid album from a singer that focused her talents on televised drama and arguments for way too long. It also proved that with dedication and talent, it isn’t hard for a reality star to use their ‘fame’ to demonstrate true talent. And for me, even though the album wasn’t perfect due to the amount of comparisons one could make to Keyshia Cole, as well as Michelle’s annoying habit of over-singing a song, it was still a pretty good debut. Now with a musical and her own reality show, K Michelle had to step up musically in order to make a lasting impression. Cue the album Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart, her sophomore album which is clearly designed to show K. Michelle isn’t just another flash-in-the-pan reality star with dreams of a successful music career. And if you listen to the album from that perspective, it largely succeeds at proving that.

From the beginning, K. Michelle is out to prove that she sings more than Hip Hop Soul by opening with “Judge Me”, a big band, traditional vocal exercise about leaving her alone because only God can judge her. It’s performed extremely well by Michelle, and the production doesn’t hold back with a grand set of sweeping horns and a beat that gives Michael Bublé’s sound an urban feel. It’s a shame that the production is almost muted and then builds up into nothing as the song fades out. Similar production missteps are made on the following track, “Love ‘Em All”, where she sings about being the heartbreaker. The song itself is good enough despite the boring lyrics (“Maybe one day I’ll settle down / But for now, I’ll just play around”), but the first 51 seconds of the track give you the feeling that this could be a beautiful rock ballad. It wouldn’t have been out of Michelle’s vocal depth; however the song just becomes another typical R&B song that isn’t a car crash. “Something About The Night” has the right amount of nostalgia, but it falters slightly with uneven production and an extremely boring chorus. But it doesn’t distract from the fact that K. Michelle can sing songs with a BPM fasted than 80.

But the worst parts of the album are the parts that sound very much like someone else. Of course, no K. Michelle album would be complete without a Keyshia Cole ballad, which appears in the form of “Cry”. It isn’t very heart-wrenching, and that isn’t because K. Michelle can’t sing; she does so much of that on this song. It’s because the card she plays (that being the ‘Angry lover who seeks revenge’) is a topic we’ve heard countless times, and there is no way K. Michelle can make it sound interesting. It just isn’t. Yet, when things couldn’t get any worse, they do. “How Do You Know” is probably one of the most dull ballads in recent memory due to the fact that everything is wrong. The simple piano that has a stale ending? Boring. The Broadway-style performance that doesn’t ever have its big moment? Boring. The entire song drags and never picks up. Unlike “I Don’t Like Me” on her previous album, which worked due to her self-critical lyrics and polished production, “How Do You Know” sounds like a failed Mariah moment that had too much effort put into it. “Build A Man” has a great intro, but then it turns into an Ariana Grande demo that should’ve been axed from this album. I understand that it shows her willingness to change it up, but this is not her song, nor her style.

However, there are some tracks that work from start to finish. Take for example; “Going Under”, an up-tempo track with production that shares some similarities to Ciara’s music pre-Fantasy Ride. The song discusses Michelle’s need to be in love without sounding too cheesy. Rather than sing about the past and previous relationships, she focuses on falling in love now and wonders if anyone ever will. It helps that she acknowledges her flaws as well as the fact she doesn’t over-sing the song either. Another amazing standout is “Maybe I Should Call”. The song focuses on Michelle’s feelings for a man that has a family and her regret for putting herself out there in case she gets hurt. It’s rather confessional and to the point. “Miss You, Goodbye” is perfectly pulled from the '80s with a distorted electric piano and a simple beat, as well as a simple yet developed chorus and great vocals from Michelle, who discusses her love/hate relationship with an ex. The single, most surprising moment on her album, though, has to be “God I Get It”. It will likely be challenging for most of her fan base because it’s a country song. But that’s why it works: K. Michelle has no issue with baring her soul and coming clean about herself, which is why it’s great that she decided to close the album with this song. If only songs like this were more common throughout the album, this might have been her defining moment in her career.

At the end of the day, the only statement that this album set out to make was this: K Michelle has progressed exponentially from her first effort at a music career. It is true to say that she has a great deal, but there can be a weak case for the opposing side. K. Michelle has taken huge strides in diversifying her musical tastes and her subject matter, but she suffers with the same issues she had on her last album. Granted, those problems are almost irrelevant when compared to her debut, but it may just be the reason she will always be plain okay to some and pretty good to others, but never amazing or perfect. If Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart is a step in a different direction, then K Michelle’s done that, even if it isn’t a complete step.

7
Music
Music

Billy Corgan Brainwashed Me: '90s Alternative Rock and the Introspective Abyss

Once in its thrall, these days I find the overriding message of '90s alt-rock especially naïve and even dangerous.

Music

Coronavirus Tunes: A Brief Playlist for Our Times of Self-Isolation

As coronavirus spreads throughout the world and many of us hunker down with online media, we offer eight songs that share our feeling of seclusion.

Music

Jennah Barry Offers Up a Warm, Sublime Collection of Memorable Tunes on 'Holiday'

Canadian indie folkster Jennah Barry returns with her long-awaited sophomore album, Holiday, which takes on a looser, more relaxed approach.

Music

Maria McKee Puts Down Her Electric Guitar and Picks up Dante on 'La Vita Nuova'

"Show Me Heaven" was another country. Maria McKee has moved to England, immersed herself in the Classics and turned away from the 21st century.

Music

PopMatters Seeks Music Critics and Essayists

If you're a smart, historically-minded music critic or essayist, let your voice be heard by the quality readership of PopMatters.

Music

Fotocrime's '80s-Inspired Rock Is Often Half-Baked

Fotocrime's South of Heaven is interesting mostly in that it's one of the most mediocre rock records I've heard in a long time.

Music

Salsa Band LPT Hints at the Genre's Future

LPT's debut album, Sin Parar, hits all the right notes for a contemporary salsa album.

Music

The Killers - "Caution" (Singles Going Steady)

The Killers go for the big hooks and singable anthems on "Caution", but opinion is sharply divided about the song's merits amongst our Singles Going Steady panel.

Books
Books

Phuc Tran's Existential Trip of a Memoir, 'Sigh, Gone'

Phuc Tran's smart, tough memoir, Sigh, Gone, might launch a broken down kid to read 150 great books—for free, at the local library.

Books

Classic Shōjo Today: Moto Hagio's 'The Poe Clan'

Moto Hagio's The Poe Clan manga series a gender-fluid melodrama marked by deep psychological trauma.

Books

John Pham's ​J​&K​​ - It's a Matter of Perspective

In J&K, John Pham explores perspectives in the psychological sense. Like Picasso, he views things from more than one angle.

Books

The American Robot: A Cultural History [By the Book]

In The American Robot, Dustin A. Abnet explores how robots have not only conceptually connected but literally embodied some of the most critical questions in modern culture, as seen in this excerpt from chapter 5 "Building the Slaves of Tomorrow", courtesy of University of Chicago Press.

Dustin A. Abnet
Film
Film

The Road to Murder in Love and War: Three Films from Claude Chabrol

The character's in Claude Chabrol's The Third Lover, Line of Demarcation, and The Champagne Murders are obsessively doubled and mirrored, reflecting and refracting their hunger for sex, love, money, and power.

Film

'Memento' Is the Movie of the Attention Economy

We are afraid of time, and so like Leonard in Memento, we kill it, compulsively and indiscriminately.

Film

What Lurks Beneath: 'Jaws' and Political Leadership in the Time of COVID-19

Boris Johnson admires the Mayor in Spielberg's Jaws. Remember him? He was the guy who wouldn't close the beaches -- and sacrifice that revenue source -- during a public crisis.

Film

'The Serpent's Egg' Marks One of Ingmar Bergman's Strangest Efforts

The Serpent's Egg bares many of the Bergman's trademark features – the suffocating auras of despair and an underdog's sense of triumph over tragedy – but falls short of a more intelligent rendering of human drama.

Recent
Music

The Killers - "Caution" (Singles Going Steady)

The Killers go for the big hooks and singable anthems on "Caution", but opinion is sharply divided about the song's merits amongst our Singles Going Steady panel.

Music

Lilly Hiatt - "Some Kind of Drug" (Singles Going Steady)

Lilly Hiatt sings about a different kind of love on "Some Kind of Drug". Hers is for a city and the impact gentrification has had its soul.

Music

There's Never Enough Time for Folk Music's James Elkington

The sometimes Wilco and Richard Thompson sideman, in-demand producer, and songwriter, James Elkington, muses on why it's taking longer than he expects to achieve more in a week than most of us get done in a lifetime.

Music

Billy Corgan Brainwashed Me: '90s Alternative Rock and the Introspective Abyss

Once in its thrall, these days I find the overriding message of '90s alt-rock especially naïve and even dangerous.

Books

Classic Shōjo Today: Moto Hagio's 'The Poe Clan'

Moto Hagio's The Poe Clan manga series a gender-fluid melodrama marked by deep psychological trauma.

Music

Salsa Band LPT Hints at the Genre's Future

LPT's debut album, Sin Parar, hits all the right notes for a contemporary salsa album.

Music

Jennah Barry Offers Up a Warm, Sublime Collection of Memorable Tunes on 'Holiday'

Canadian indie folkster Jennah Barry returns with her long-awaited sophomore album, Holiday, which takes on a looser, more relaxed approach.

Music

Fotocrime's '80s-Inspired Rock Is Often Half-Baked

Fotocrime's South of Heaven is interesting mostly in that it's one of the most mediocre rock records I've heard in a long time.

Music

Maria McKee Puts Down Her Electric Guitar and Picks up Dante on 'La Vita Nuova'

"Show Me Heaven" was another country. Maria McKee has moved to England, immersed herself in the Classics and turned away from the 21st century.

Books

Phuc Tran's Existential Trip of a Memoir, 'Sigh, Gone'

Phuc Tran's smart, tough memoir, Sigh, Gone, might launch a broken down kid to read 150 great books—for free, at the local library.

Music

Weeks Island's 'Droste' Is a New High Water Mark in Ambient Steel (EP stream) (premiere)

Lost Bayou Ramblers' Jonny Campos turns up as Weeks Island with Brian Eno/Cluster-inspired music straight from the bayou. Hear Droste in full ahead of its release on Friday.

Music

Ireland's Junk Drawer Share New Krautrock Meets Post-Punk Song, "Temporary Day" (premiere)

Junk Drawer's "Temporary Day" is a simple yet compelling video for a gripping song that shows why the band have earned such acclaim in their native Ireland.

Books

John Pham's ​J​&K​​ - It's a Matter of Perspective

In J&K, John Pham explores perspectives in the psychological sense. Like Picasso, he views things from more than one angle.

Music

Miranda Lambert - "Bluebird" (Singles Going Steady)

Miranda Lambert sings her blues the way an artist paints with them on her latest single, "Bluebird".

Music

'Stone Crush' Proves (Again) That Memphis Is Ground Zero for Soul and R&B

Stone Crush shines a light on the forgotten -- or never known -- artists that passed through the doors of Memphis' most storied studios in an attempt at just one fleeting moment of fame.

Music

Circles Around the Sun Shoot for the Stars on New Album

Jamrockers Circles Around the Sun's self-titled third album finds the band transcending darkness after losing their founder in 2019 to chart a groovy new course.

Music

Jazz's Kandace Springs Pays Tribute to 'The Women Who Raised Me'

Singer and pianist Kandace Springs tackles a dozen songs associated with her jazz vocal heroes, and the combination of simplicity and sincerity is winning.

Music

Coronavirus Tunes: A Brief Playlist for Our Times of Self-Isolation

As coronavirus spreads throughout the world and many of us hunker down with online media, we offer eight songs that share our feeling of seclusion.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews
Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.