Kelly Clarkson returns with a rhythm and blues sound in ‘Meaning of Life’

Album art for Meaning of Life by Kelly Clarkson

Album art for “Meaning of Life” by Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson has been a big staple in the music industry for the last 15 years. After her big break in the singing competition “American Idol” the songstress has been unstoppable with her wicked vocals and smooth melodies. The singer is back with a fresh R&B and soulful sound that shows off her crazy singing abilities.

Clarkson kicks off the album with a mysterious throwback-esque interlude titled “A Minute.” It then transitions to a funky tune called “Love So Soft” that changes up the energy and has a dance party vibe. What’s admirable about the record is Clarkson’s effort to throw in soul, pop, R&B and dance all at one. In the past, she has made her signature trademark through her powerful ballads like “Stronger” and “Because of You.” Now with a mature flavor and taste to her already great collection, Clarkson has branched out to a more intimate and liberated genre, hence her album name “Meaning of Life.”

A song that stands out and feels the most relatable is her title track “Meaning of Life.” Anyone that needs some uplifting encouragement and empowerment needs to listen to the soul inducing jam. The lyrics carry a lot of purpose along with her silky voice. The first verse starts with the lines “Baby, I’ve been livin’ in the dark / The only friend I got here’s my broken heart / Feelin’ like I’ve finally had enough / Livin’ like an animal can be so rough.” The song goes on to talk about finding love and breaking out of the darkness.

The album is great for its message of breakthrough, testimony and confidence. It’s a great listen for times of sorrow and getting pumped up for any occasion. Another inspiring track on the record titled “Whole Lotta Woman” is a self esteem booster that’ll make you want to strut your stuff. The chorus goes “I’m a whole lotta woman (From the way I walk and toss my hips) / (Anything I see, I want, I get).” Clarkson has gone through a lot in the course of her career, so her declaration of her womanhood as a mom and wife is pretty incredible to hear.

In the latter end of her album, Clarkson briefly touches on the subject of heartbreak and painful relationships. In songs like “I Don’t Think About You,” she sings, “I didn’t know who I could trust / So I put all my faith in us / Oh, you tore me to pieces / Turned my strength into weakness.” Everything Clarkson talks about in this album all connect from topics of love and the self esteem intertwining with each other. Her flow and execution style of the whole thing is flawless. From the production to the vocals, Clarkson outdid herself very well. Another favorite from the album is her 12th song titled “Slow Dance.” The song speaks for itself and is a sensual and nice slow ballad to set the mood.

“Meaning of Life” is an album that’s fun, powerful and carries a strong anthem. I give it a five out of five stars for Clarkson’s overall performance and her meaningful messages on its entirety.

Niyat Teferi can be reached at [email protected] or @tayintee on Twitter.