The album debuted at number 17 on the Billboard 200 and sold 57,000 copies in its first week. It produced two singles, including the lead single "Holding You Down (Goin' in Circles)", which peaked at number three on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. Love Me Back received universal acclaim from music critics, who praised its songwriting and Sullivan's singing.
The album is the follow-up to Sullivan's debut album Fearless (2008), which was well received by music critics, sold 517,000 copies, and earned Sullivan seven Grammy Award nominations. Recording sessions for the album took place at various recording locations, including Carrington House Studios, Goldmind Studios, and Lostas Studi in Atlanta, Georgia, CNSO Recording Studio in Czech Republic, Cutting Room Studios, Germano Studios, KMA Studios, and MSR Studios in New York, New York, Instrument Zoo in Miami, Florida, Metropolis Studios in London, Waya Flow Studios and Westlake Studios in Los Angeles, California, Strawberrybee Studios in California, and The Studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The album's second single, "10 Seconds", leaked to the Internet in September, and was officially released as a single on October 15, 2010. It has spent 10 weeks on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, peaking at number 18. The single's music video was released to the Internet on November 13, 2010. It features the theme of revenge towards an unfaithful boyfriend. It charted at number 17 and has spent 14 weeks on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
Love Me Back was originally scheduled to be released on September 28, 2010. It was released by J Records on November 29 in the United Kingdom, November 30 in the United States, and December 8, 2010 in Japan. Prior to its release, Sullivan accompanied R&B recording artist Mary J. Blige on the latter's Music Saved My Life concert tour during October 2010. The album's cover was premiered on September 21, 2010 and features Sullivan dressed in all black, leaning against a vintage model Chevrolet Impala, a reference to her hit single "Bust Your Windows".
Love Me Back received universal acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 85, based on 10 reviews.AllMusic's Andy Kellman said that it "sprawls and stuns in equal measure". Maura Johnston of Spin found Sullivan "both feisty and classy", and Michael Cragg of The Guardian wrote that her vocals "sound lived-in" and accommodating to each song.Jon Pareles, writing in The New York Times, found her voice "narrow and jagged, with more grain and more tears as she applies gospel dynamics to her venting".New York magazine's Nitsuh Abebe described her voice as "warm, well-textured, and big — authentically, naturally big" and stated, "the warmth and weight of the songwriting and production live up to the singing". Alex Macpherson of The Quietus commended Sullivan for "letting [her] ideas run riot while staying true to genre values" on the "most creative R&B album of the year".MSN Music's Robert Christgau felt that the songwriting is "a big extra difference maker, with enough pop moves to lighten the overall mood" amid "the soulful melodrama". He commented that Sullivan role-plays "with unflinching intelligence" on each song and, although the lyrics could be based on personal history, "it's simpler just to wish every pro was such an astute student of the female condition."
In a mixed review, Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone was ambivalent towards Sullivan's decision to play "a little nicer, adhering to the Mary J. Blige school of gritty, nuanced hip-hop soul".Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani felt that the album "fails to reprise many of its predecessor's themes or explore any overarching new ones". Margaret Wappler of the Los Angeles Times said that Sullivan "walks herself to the precipice of emotion without falling off", but criticized that the album "could use more experimentation".