The Critics Corner | Albums

Meaning Of Life Idol winner’s new album under new label, Meaning of Life, is full of catchy, inspirational songs, but doesn’t really ‘wow’
Hey Violet
Hayley Holmes Album name: Meaning Of Life
Label:  Atlantic
Release date: October 27, 2017
My rating: 3.0 out of 5

Review written by: Luanne Lim
Kelly Clarkson - a name that is commonly associated with American Idol is back with her eighth album, yet first under new label, Atlantic Records. Formerly signed under Idol’s label, RCA, Clarkson’s long-awaited Atlantic debut Meaning of Life promised a soul and R&B vibe. A promise that Clarkson succeeds at carrying through.

Appropriately named, the album begins with “A Minute (Intro)”. I would guess the short prelude serves as a sort of introduction for the rest of the album - an intro that isn’t really needed. It has a powerful beat, really driving in the statement, “Sometimes, I need a minute just for me.” And the track, literally timed at one minute and 9 seconds, gives listeners a minute and then some.

“Love So Soft” follows a rather lackluster intro. My personal favorite track on the album, “Love So Soft” was the first single of Meaning of Life. It’s a catchy track that showcases the Clarkson voice that everyone knows and respects. Similarly, songs “Heat” and “Medicine” carry out the same message of “Love So Soft” about needing a little something more from a love interest, backed with an equally head bopping, single ladies’ night out vibe.

“Didn’t I” is one of the more unique songs on the album. It has an infectious, in-your-face beat. Asking from a former love interest, “I gave you everything, didn’t I?” in an almost mocking way.

Following the “Didn’t I” approach, “Would You Call That Love” asks the ex to look back at the relationship and see if that’s what he/she would call love. While not as catchy as its predecessor, the song is one to add to a “Breakup” playlist.

“Meaning of Life” is one of four ballad-like songs. Taking a break from the upbeat tracks, Clarkson belts out her feelings upon finding someone who helps her see the meaning of life. It’s a powerful song, that does reflect a soul and R&B influence.

“Cruel” and “Don’t You Pretend” similarly reflect R&B vibes.

The true, “feeling myself,” “confident woman” anthem from Clarkson’s album is undoubtedly “Whole Lotta Woman”. Complete with a powerhouse backing chorus, the track preaches “I’m a strong, badass chick with classic confidence.”  

“I Don’t Think About You” is the designated breakup song of the album. Instead of talking about vulnerability and missing an ex, Clarkson takes the confident woman approach to it, reflecting on lessons learned and newfound independence after ending a relationship. The emotion is reflected immensely in the track through Clarkson’s notably powerful voice.

Other tracks, “Move You,” “Go High” and “Slow Dance” blend in among the others. Not offering much from everything else listeners already heard in other songs from Meaning of Life.  

Upon first hearing the first single from Meaning of Life, “Love So Soft”, I had high expectations from Clarkson’s debut away from Idol influence. While the album isn’t a letdown in terms of catchy, upbeat, empowering tracks, I anticipated a more powerful, memorable track that would truly signify a break from RCA/Idol and ended up slightly disappointed.
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