ALBUM REVIEW: Kelly Clarkson – Meaning Of Life
For her eighth studio album Kelly Clarkson has delivered a mature and impressive new sound. It’s no secret that her last studio record was a bit of a flop with an increasingly experimental electronic pop sound that saw her slightly lose her essence. But for “Meaning Of Life” she rediscovers her roots and heads towards a soul-pop sound that embraces her maturity and growth as a woman, a mother and a lover. Vocally this is the strongest we’ve ever heard her. No longer are the days of her screechy pop-rock high notes, now she’s confident and soaring higher than before. Lead single “Love So Soft” is an underrated pop-soul meets RNB anthem that delivers a soul baseline, handclaps, RNB injection and slick trumpets. She continues this sound on the attitude filled “Whole Lotta Woman” that really does feel like the female version of a Bruno Mars track. Title track “Meaning Of Live” goes towards a doo-woop soul production during the verses but the chorus drops a very funky melody that will have you bopping instantly. “Heat” continues the funky vibes but is a little cheesy in it’s delivery while “Medicine” injects a slightly more pop directed soul focus and delivers one of the best written hooks. “I ain’t even thinkin’ ’bout you, don’t talk about ya, almost forgot about you”. These songs show more personality than her last record did and with funky hooks like “Didn’t I” you will be falling in love with this new confident version of her. On album closer “Go High” she mixes this new sound with an electronic layer that her last album experimented with for a pulsating and empowering track. But it wouldn’t be a Kelly Clarkson record without some ballads and she has 6 of them for you. “Move you” and “Cruel” are the soul ballads that deliver the strongest vocals from the whole album and will have you in awe and feeling all the feels. “Don’t be cruel, it’s taken all of me to love someone like you”. She then goes towards a more doo-woop styled ballad production on the grower “Slow Dance” and the forgettable “Don’t You Pretend”. Wrapping it all up with some pop directed ballads “Would You Call That Love” is a standout while “I Don’t Think About You” is another forgettable track. This record has it’s moments of brilliance and whilst it may not be her strongest album of mainstream ready hits like “All I Ever Wanted” or “Stronger” it has her strongest vocals and some of her strongest storytelling yet. It’s a feel good and empowering record which isn’t going to be for everyone but it perfectly evolves her into the next stage of her career.