Chris Sligh’s post-American Idol album Running Back to You did what it needed to do: it established him as a viable CCM artist outside of the realm of the show. Mission accomplished, Sligh signed with a subsidiary of Word, the largest CCM label in the U.S., then delivered the vague concept album The Anatomy of Broken in the fall of 2010. More ambitious in every way than its predecessor, The Anatomy of Broken aims for nothing less than a deep exploration of what it means to be human, why we are damaged -- i.e., “broken” -- and what we can do to heal. Since the latter answer is preordained -- God is the solution -- it’s hard not to shake the feeling that the songs were written backward, almost as if he was searching for questions to support his conclusion, but that could also be fallout from Sligh’s pervasive smugness, a self-satisfaction that permeates the record, casting his pained searching as affectation because he already knows what will cure all. This high self-regard is more prominent here due to the album’s conceptual nature, not just how the songs all revolve around a theme but how Sligh and co-producer Steve Bishir give the album a sonic unity. That conceptual cohesiveness may underscore Sligh’s narcissism but it also makes The Anatomy of Broken a more cohesive, purposeful record than his debut, so it’s a bit of a trade-off that ultimately plays in his favor, but only slightly.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine