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.
Love Me Back was released by J Records on November 29, 2010, in the United Kingdom, November 30 in the United States, and December 8 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.Love Me Back was also promoted with two singles: "Holding You Down (Goin' in Circles)" was released on July 10, and "10 Seconds" on October 15. 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 widespread acclaim from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 82, based on 11 reviews.AllMusic's Andy Kellman said that it "sprawls and stuns in equal measure". In her review for Spin magazine, music journalist Maura Johnston found Sullivan "both feisty and classy", while Michael Cragg of The Guardian said her singing is marked by experience and accommodates each song.Jon Pareles, writing in The New York Times, said Sullivan sounds "narrow and jagged" on the album, "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". In his review for MSN Music, 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 believed 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".