Her best album yet, 15 years into her career!
I've been a Kelly Clarkson fan since I was 9 years old, watching the first season of American Idol with my mom. I remember always saying that the girl with the highlights and the big voice was my favorite. And I voted for her every single week until she won. But the moment I became more than just a regular fan was when I heard "Since U Been Gone" on the radio and that same weekend, she performed on SNL, singing "Breakaway" and "Since U Been Gone". The next morning, I had my dad take me to Target to buy the album, and the rest is history. I played it nonstop throughout 2005 and 2006. All of her subsequent albums have had a profound affect on me, as well. 'My December' literally saved my life as it came out during a time when I was suicidal, and hearing "Irvine" was such a relief because I knew that I wasn't going through it alone, that someone who seemingly had everything she could even want could feel that way, too. But over the years, my taste in music has slowly drifted away from pop, for the most part. Now my main genre is alternative, and while I still love well done pop music, it wasn't my main genre anymore. I loved 'Piece by Piece', but not as much I had loved her previous 4 albums going back to 'Breakaway', well 5 including her incredibly wonderful Xmas album, 'Wrapped in Red'. I had resigned myself to the fact that while Kelly would always be my favorite singer, her music wasn't exactly my favorite thing in the world anymore, it didn't do completely justice to her talent. A lot of that had to do with her former label RCA, who she was with from her winning Idol through the release of 'Piece by Piece'. They refused to let her have the creative control that she had rightfully earned by that point, and they were obsessed with trying to make a "Since U Been Gone" versions 2, 3, 4, 5, 20, etc. They severely hindered her artistic growth by the end. The most creatively adventurous thing that they let her do was 'Wrapped in Red', which ended up being her best RCA album vocally and production wise. Now we get to 'Meaning of Life', her first album under her new label, Atlantic. She finally has creative control, and they let her make the album that she has wanted to make her entire career, hell, her entire life. And it paid off truly wonderfully. 'Meaning of Life' is the best album of her career. Her vocals have never been better. It's soulful, R&B flavored, and inspired by the divas of the 90s like Mariah and Whitney, while still being pop and still having modern production. There isn't a single bad song on this album, which is just bonkers, because even the best albums have one or two bad or "meh" tracks. But not 'Meaning of Life'. It's sonically and lyrically cohesive, the whole album tells a story. A story about a woman who is finally ridiculously happy who found the love of her life and made a family and is the most confident she has ever been. And all of that shines through every song. And speaking of the songs, the hooks and the melodies are just out of this world. If Atlantic gives her proper promo, and chooses the right singles ("Heat", "Medicine", the title track, "Go High", and "Would You Call That Love" all have massive single potential), then Kelly could have some of the biggest and most iconic hits of her career. I couldn't be more happy for her or more proud of her. She made an album again that I truly, truly love, and I wholeheartedly believe that you will, too.