The album debuted at number nine on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 41,000 copies in its first week. It achieved respectable chart success elsewhere and produced three singles, including the international hit "Fuck You". The album has sold 498,000 copies in the United States as of October 2012, and it has been certified double platinum in the United Kingdom. The Lady Killer received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised its production, classicist soul music approach, and Green's singing.
Green reportedly "spent three years on The Lady Killer, recording close to 70 songs". Thirteen tracks that didn't make the final selection for The Lady Killer were leaked online in June 2010 as an album titled Stray Bullets including the song "You Don't Shock Me Anymore", and collaborations with The B-52's ("Cho Cho The Cat"), Soko (a remix of "I'll Kill Her"), and Goodie Mob ("Night Train").
The album's lead single "Fuck You" was released on August 19, 2010, and charted at number two on the BillboardHot 100. It also became an international hit and peaked within the top-ten of charts in several countries, including number one in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The radio edit of the song was entitled "Forget You", while another edit is simply entitled "FU". A music video for the song was released on YouTube on August 19, 2010, featuring the lyrics of the song appearing on different colored backgrounds with film grain overlaid on the video. The video went viral, receiving over two million views within a week of its release. The official music video was released on September 1, 2010.
The second single, "It's OK", was released on December 13, 2010. It charted on the UK Singles Chart, peaking at 20. "Fool for You" was solicited to radio as the album's third single on March 8, 2011. The album's fourth single, "Bright Lights Bigger City" was released on March 27, 2011. The album's fifth single, "I Want You" was released on June 5, 2011. "Cry Baby" was released as the album's sixth single on September 12. The seventh single and the first from The Platinum Edition of the album, "Anyway" was released on December 11.
The album debuted at number nine on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 41,000 copies in the United States. It also entered at number two on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. As of October 2012, the album has sold 498,000 copies in the United States.
The Lady Killer attained moderate international charting. In the United Kingdom, the album debuted at number 10 on the Top 40 Albums, and it reached number one on the Top 40 RnB Albums chart. On November 4, 2011, The Lady Killer was certified two-platinum by the British Phonographic Industry, for shipments of 600,000 copies in the UK. As of December 2011, the album had sold 621,000 copies in the UK. It was the third biggest selling R&B / hip hop album of 2011 in the UK.
In Canada, it debuted at number 29 on the Top 100 Albums chart. It also entered at number 91 in Belgium, at number 18 in Ireland, at number 43 in the Netherlands, at number 24 in Australia, at number 90 in France, at number 53 in Sweden, and at number 16 in Scotland.
The Lady Killer received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 80, based on 33 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".AllMusic writer Andy Kellman called it "a thoroughly engrossing album".Entertainment Weekly's Leah Greenblatt commented that the album "both honors and tweaks the tropes of vintage songcraft with hefty doses of sweet Motown / Stax boogie, a smattering of Curtis Mayfieldsuperfly, and imaginary theme songs for James Bond". Bill Friskics-Warren of The Washington Post wrote that it "offers some of the most ebullient pop this side of old-school hit-machines ranging from Holland-Dozier-Holland to Gamble and Huff".Chicago Tribune writer Greg Kot gave the album three-and-a-half out of four stars and lauded Green's "retro-soul classicism and dark-tinged eccentricity".Slant Magazine's Huw Jones praised the album's accessibility and "buoyant nü-Motown and progressive soul", while noting Green's singing as "absolutely flawless. Pitch-perfect from tip to toe".Rolling Stone writer Jody Rosen dubbed The Lady Killer "one of the most engrossing records of 2010".
In a mixed review, Jon Caramanica of The New York Times found Green to be "reduced to an accent piece [...] purposefully restrained", stating "Green’s vocals are buried low in the mix, mere decoration for the arrangements and textures [...] crisp, lovely and certainly well rehearsed". Jer Fairall of PopMatters found the album's premise inconsistent, writing that it "feels relatively safe [...] a thoroughly likeable little trifle of a record", but added that "As a throwback, it is indeed impeccable". Despite viewing it as less "gleefully unhinged" than his previous work, NME's Jason Draper cited it as Green's "most focused solo album".The Observer's Killian Fox wrote that "his idiosyncrasies have proven too potent to repress". Nitsuh Abebe of New York called it "suitably theatrical—a lavishly orchestrated thing", and lauded Green's dramatist "lady-killer persona" and "artifice".Los Angeles Times writer Margaret Wappler noted "a glassy modernity that makes the album a sexy sonic adventure of loving and leaving" and commented that "it’s not Green’s caddish ways that charm. Rather [...] it’s his big heart underneath".
Despite writing that "he's not always lethal", Pitchfork's Joshua Klein commented that Green "manages to avoid being both too rough or too smooth", complimenting his "contemporary, confident conception of soul music" and the album's "de rigueur synthetic frills". Barry Walters of Spin noted its "detailed encapsulations of Saturday-night transcendence and Sunday-morning love pains" and its music "beautifully busy 21st-century Motown as greasy as it is vibrant". Amy Linden of The Village Voice called the album "romantic—chaste, even", writing that "[Green]'s written a manual on how to both break and mend someone's heart".The Independent's Andy Gill commented that "he manages to avoid all the bubblebath boudoir-soul cliches that litter most R&B albums".Chicago Sun-Times writer Thomas Conner gave the album four out of four stars and called it "an utter delight", writing that "every song rings fresh, modern, anthemic, packed with earth, wind and fire".
Green released The Platinum Edition of The Lady Killer on November 28, 2011. The repackaged album contains the single "Anyway", released on December 11, 2011, which will serve as the album's sixth overall single and first platinum edition single. Other new tracks include "Scarlet Fever" and the single version of "I Want You (Hold on to Love)". "Love Gun" and "No One's Gonna Love You" are also new for international markets. "Please" (featuring Selah Sue) was removed.