"Collard Greens & Cornbread"
Released: April 11, 2011
Back to Me is the third studio album by American singer Fantasia Barrino. It was released by J Records on August 24, 2010. The album is her first studio album in four years since 2006's Fantasia. The album's title was suggested to her by comedian Steve Harvey, when Barrino visited his morning radio program. The album sold 117,000 in its first week, debuting at number two on the US Billboard 200 and at number one on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, making it Fantasia's highest charting album as of September 2010.
The album was originally set for release in early 2010, but after an underperforming first single and numerous leaks, J Records ordered more tracks for the album, postponing the album's release until further studio sessions, and stronger singles were recorded. Her label recruited Claude Kelly to add a more contemporary, commercial sound to the album. The project's lead single, "Bittersweet" was released to iTunes on May 11, 2010, and was performed live on American Idol, while a new release date was set for July 27, 2010. The album was again pushed back to August 10, 2010 and finally to August 24, 2010.
To promote the album, Barrino embarked on her first solo concert tour, Back to Me Tour in the fall of 2010.
"Even Angels", the album's promotional single, was performed on The Oprah Winfrey Show on February 3, 2010. The single was never promoted after the performance or sent to radio for airplay. It was later featured on Episode 11 of the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race, as part of RuPaul's "Lip sync for your life" song list, in which Barrino was a guest judge.
"Bittersweet", the album's first official single, was released on May 11, 2010 and then performed the next day on American Idol. The music video was released on Vevo on June 25, 2010 and featured NFL star Devin Thomas as her love interest. Fantasia was also a guest on BET's 106 and Park on her birthday, June 30, 2010, to premiere the video internationally. The track peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard Adult R&B Chart, at number seven on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and at number 74 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. "Bittersweet" is Fantasia's fourth song to reach the Top 10 of the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, including "Truth Is", "Free Yourself," and "When I See U."
"Collard Greens & Cornbread" is the third official single from the album. Fantasia performed the song on American Idol's result night on March 31, 2011. The song was officially released as a radio single on April 11, 2011. The song debuted on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart at number 73. The single has since peaked at number 47 on the chart.
Upon its release, Back To Me received generally positive reviews from most music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, it has so far received an average score of 70 based on 7 reviews.
Ken Capobianco with The Boston Globe called the record "a strong comeback" and went on to say that "Fantasia has matured [and] appears to be an artist reborn." Mariel Concepcion with Billboard called it a "soulful, laid-back album with tinges of gospel" and went on to say "her distinct voice is most enjoyable when singing heartfelt ballads. Jim Farber with The New York Daily News called it "a wail of a comeback". He also said it "outperforms the singer's first two works, with meatier hooks, firmer melodies, and a more shrewdly focused point of view." Mikael Wood with Entertainment Weekly gave it a "B" rating, commenting "Fantasia's rough-hewn vocals shine best on The Thrill Is Gone."Stephen Thomas Erlewine with Allmusic called it her "most interesting album", and commented saying that she was "reconnecting with her roots."
However, Jonathan Keefe of Slant Magazine stated "the material [Fantasia] has been saddled with has been extraordinarily awful" but still described her positively as an "uninhibited, intuitive soul singer with a truly distinctive sense of phrasing and boundless passion".