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Meaning of Life Image
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73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 8 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 182 Ratings

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  • Summary: The soul-influenced eighth full-length studio release for the pop artist is her first on the Atlantic label and features production from Greg Kurstin, The Monarch, Maureen "Mozella" McDonald, Jesse Shatkin, and Mick Schultz.
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Top Track

Love So Soft
Hey Every kiss is a door Can I knock on yours? Can we knock a little more? If your touch is a key Keep on twisting, keep on locking, keep on turning... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. 83
    As cohesive and self-assured as this collection feels, Meaning doesn’t seem especially interested in scaling the heights of early smashes like “Since U Been Gone” or “Because of You.” Instead, it swings low and sweet--a refreshingly real dispatch from an artist expressing exactly what she feels in this moment, and nothing less.
  2. Oct 27, 2017
    80
    Meaning of Life is one of her most satisfying albums: it feels like not just a collection of good tunes, but a statement of purpose.
  3. Oct 30, 2017
    80
    Go High closes the album on a surprisingly experimental note. The big, syrupy ballads, meanwhile, accentuate Clarkson’s undeniably powerful voice, creating a comfort zone that feels genuine.
  4. Oct 26, 2017
    70
    Meaning of Life doesn't reinvent the genre, nor does it try to, but it portrays an artist continuing to redefine herself—in the process, solidifying her position as one of her generation's greatest singers.
  5. Oct 26, 2017
    60
    There’s lots of filler, too, such as Go High--based around a Michelle Obama speech--and the body-positive pop of Whole Lotta Woman, which sticks a little too closely to the Meghan Trainor mould. Despite this, the strong, 90s diva-ish mood suits Clarkson’s belting vocal style, as she ushers in a more soulful phase with class.
  6. Oct 27, 2017
    50
    Yet for an album that promises revelation, Meaning of Life is full of generalities.
  7. Nov 8, 2017
    50
    There are light nods to the times—single “Love So Soft” lightly updates Thankful’s Christina Aguilera-penned “Miss Independent” and Breakaway’s “Walk Away” with a half-time chorus, and tracks like “Didn’t I” and “Heat” recalls Adele’s collaborations with Max Martin. But the rest is stubbornly old-fashioned: sloughing off the flakiness of the millennial male while extolling the virtues of taking it slow and pushing for commitment.

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 36
  2. Negative: 4 out of 36
  1. Oct 27, 2017
    10
    Kelly Clarkson's voice sounds better than ever. This is an album full of life and power. No doubt Kelly and Atlantic records have given us oneKelly Clarkson's voice sounds better than ever. This is an album full of life and power. No doubt Kelly and Atlantic records have given us one of the records of the year. Ready for Gammy's 2018? Expand
  2. Oct 31, 2017
    10
    ****Mikael Wood*****, from the LA TIMES, scored MOL 50. The same Mikael Wood who officially reviewed Taylor Swifts 1989 with a score of 50.****Mikael Wood*****, from the LA TIMES, scored MOL 50. The same Mikael Wood who officially reviewed Taylor Swifts 1989 with a score of 50. Mikael Wood is a disgrace to his profession. Mikael Woods reviews are pompous declarations of his personal animus and/or bias for or against an artist irrespective of their music. This misconduct has played out throughout his career with artist after artist. This review is not an anomaly. It is the standard misfire with malfeasance that has defined his career. Management of the LA TIMES: It's time to ask why is Mikael Wood still employed as a Pop Music critic when he clearly can't recognize the quality of pop music - and worse yet misleads consumers more often than not? It's time for Mikael Wood to be called out for his shoddy work and his forum removed by force. Expand
  3. Oct 30, 2017
    10
    The album is GREAT!! Her voice and this new style gives life to a new era to Kelly that had finally found her true meaning of life. She grewThe album is GREAT!! Her voice and this new style gives life to a new era to Kelly that had finally found her true meaning of life. She grew so much since Thankful (her first album), vocally, but personally too. Expand
  4. Oct 27, 2017
    10
    Overproduced in parts but undeniably her best album to date. Clarkson's voice is a marvel -- a throaty, nimble force on 14 soul-influencedOverproduced in parts but undeniably her best album to date. Clarkson's voice is a marvel -- a throaty, nimble force on 14 soul-influenced tracks that put the singer's personality and pipes on full display. "Medicine" is as close as she'll get to a club hit on this record and "Cruel" begs to be scream-sung with a crowd at a live concert. She's never had more fun than on "Whole Lotta Woman," the ode to confident Texan women. "I Don't Think About You" is the spine-chilling Mariah-inspired ballad of her career. While "Go High" feels a bit out of place with its digitally manipulated vocal riffs, it's an admirable Obama-loving album closer. But it's "Slow Dance" that might speak to where Clarkson will go with her career, a sensual country-soul standout that let's the production breathe a bit. It's gorgeous. Expand
  5. Nov 16, 2017
    9
    Did you know that “Meaning of Life” - Kelly’s just released eighth studio album - is the very first album she releases without American IdolDid you know that “Meaning of Life” - Kelly’s just released eighth studio album - is the very first album she releases without American Idol backing it up? Yes, that’s right. After her win (2002), the original American Idol was stuck under a contract with the network for FIFTEEN years! Fifteen! No wonder she completely revamped her sound as soon as she got the chance. “Meaning Of Life” has left generic Kelly behind and brought a completely new “Whole Lotta Woman” filled with soul, attitude and groove. Pop wasn’t forgotten though. As Clarkson pointed out, “it still is Pop” but it has more to it and a few full Pop songs are still present in case of an emergency, take for example my personal favorite production (and track overall), “Go High”, the extremely catchy “Medicine” (a big contender for a future single along with the groovy “Heat”) or - my other personal favorite - “Would You Call That Love”. Those are exceptions though. “Love So Soft” - the album’s first single - was all we needed to know change was coming. The perfect balance between Pop and Soul in the track is unbelievable and Clarkson’s vocals, especially during the bridge, are out of this world.

    Before the album dropped, Kelly released a few more songs. Among them is one of the album’s most beautiful songs, “Move You”, where Clarkson sings about wanting to move someone and compares it to beautiful images such as like a “montage in a movie” or like “an echo in a canyon”. Without a doubt one of the album’s best lyrics, and if you thought Kelly was all about ballads (“Because Of You”, “Piece By Piece”, “Already Gone”), there is solely one more in the record, the piano-driven track “I Don’t Think About You”. The remaining part of the album is indeed dedicated to this new sound Kelly explored in the record. In “Whole Lotta Woman”, Kelly proves she can get as many “Respect” as Aretha even though that type of music isn’t exactly my cup of tea - “Cruel” and “Slow Dance” take the crown when it comes to the best soul tracks of the record.

    With all this being said, I think it’s pretty obvious to confirm that I have fallen in love with “Meaning Of Life” and can easily say it is one of Clarkson’s best projects.
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  6. Oct 27, 2017
    9
    goddamn. I knew she'd outdo Stronger and Piece by Piece, but not this drastically. Kelly delivers ridiculously strong bops as alwaysgoddamn. I knew she'd outdo Stronger and Piece by Piece, but not this drastically. Kelly delivers ridiculously strong bops as always (Medicine, Love So Soft, Heat), her unparalleled intuitive balladry (Move You, I Don't Think About You), a sensual jam (Slow Dance) and even a track reminiscent of Breakaway (Would You Call That Love sounds a lot like a soulful, mature You Found Me). only track that could be considered filler is Whole Lotta Woman, mainly cause of its lyrics (Kelly's vocals never dip, never even approach a lower territory). just such a splendid pop/r&b album. Medicine and Would You Call That Love are absolutely some of the best pop songs of this year, something I doubted I would say about any other song post-Melodrama. Kelly delivers, and more. don't sleep on Meaning of Life. Expand
  7. Oct 31, 2018
    0
    Never patronize music made from a racist and anti-Semitic person. She supported racist and anti-Semitic Ron Paul back in late 2011, remember?Never patronize music made from a racist and anti-Semitic person. She supported racist and anti-Semitic Ron Paul back in late 2011, remember? Even worse, her album sales went up because of that. Racism isn't cool, okay? Expand

See all 36 User Reviews