Story by Erin Alexander / Contributing Writer
Kelly Clarkson released her eighth studio album, “The Meaning of Life,” on Oct. 27, 2017. This marks Clarkson’s debut with Atlantic after completing her recording contract with RCA Records.
There are 14 songs on the album, with highlights including “Whole Lotta Woman,” “Slow Dance” and “I Don’t Think About You.” While many of her previous albums had a more pop-rock feel to them, Clarkson took this one in a different direction. This album features a more soul and R&B style.
The genres of music are actually ones she has wanted to experiment with for a while but never got the opportunity to do so until now. Clarkson revealed that this album was something new and fresh and made her feel like a new artist.
The song “Whole Lotta Woman” seems to be a song about southern women, particularly women from Texas: “You ain’t know? Texas girls do it bigger.” This song may have been written to show Kelly’s pride as a native Texan. Clarkson also references the fact that she is currently residing in Tennessee. While the lyrics would suggest a country music theme, it actually has a lot more of a soul and funk feel to it. This song is perfect for anyone with southern pride that might not be crazy about country music.
“Slow Dance” says it all in the title, and is in fact one you can slow dance to, with its slow tempo and instrumentation.
“I Don’t Think About You” is actually a song about Kelly’s feelings toward leaving RCA Records. As with many of the other songs on this album, this song has the same deep-soul vibe to it. The lyrics in the beginning suggest that during her time with the recording company, she was manipulated into being a certain artist that she didn’t want to be: “Turned my strength into weakness/I didn’t want at all to fall apart/So I decided just to play the part.” The mood of the lyrics changes in the second half of the song, where listeners get the sense of Clarkson’s new-found freedom and how much stronger she is because of the experiences she had: “I lost my sanity/And now that we are through/Nothin’ left to lose/No, no, no, I don’t think about you.”
This album is very different from anything else Clarkson has done before. Changing up the style and genre of music can often be a huge risk for an artist to take, and sometimes it does not always work. However, Kelly Clarkson has definitely succeeded with the type of music she was going for on this album. With her powerful voice and the songs about her personal life and goals, this album captured the essence of soul and R&B music. Clarkson has proved she is now free to try a new style.
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