BY JODY JOHNSON
Kelly Clarkson - Meaning of Life
Released October 27th
The original American Idol is back with her eighth studio album, Meaning of Life. No longer with RCA Records, Kelly Clarkson found a new home at Atlantic Records. New record label means a new sound. Gone are the pop rock sounds from her previous albums, she turns to the music that she always adored: soul. Clarkson’s powerhouse voice dives deep and reaches new heights throughout the album. First single, “Love So Soft,” is the song that Adele wishes she could have recorded. Clarkson’s vocals soar throughout this declaration of love and will surely have you singing along. Clarkson packs a lot of sass and attitude on the funky “Whole Lotta Woman,” an upbeat empowerment anthem. The ballads, “Move You” and “I Don’t Think About You,” are standouts and allows Clarkson to show off her vocals that carried her to her American Idol win. Meaning of Life boasts many songs that make you feel good about life, and is a great return to form for Clarkson after her last album, Piece by Piece.
P!nk - Beautiful Trauma
Released October 13th
In the five years from her last release, The Truth About Love, P!nk gave birth to a son, and raised her daughter to be just as fearless as she is. Beautiful Trauma reflects the growth and maturity of P!nk as she focuses on her family instead of being a controversial pop star. Lead single, “What About Us,” is noticeably tamer compared to previous lead singles. Stripped of the rock guitars, the song is an emotional club ballad, with poignant lyrics and a club/house feel. Eminem joins P!nk on “Revenge,” a sing-songy take on getting back at your ex with tons of sarcastic and witty humor from the two controversial performers. Where P!nk really shines is when she fully gets to let her vocals soar on the ballads. “You Get My Love” and “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” are the album’s emotional standouts and her vocals have gained a new range, where her voice is less raspy due to her decision to quit smoking during her hiatus.
Keyshia Cole - 11:11 Reset
Released: October 20th
After a disappointing sixth album, the R&B songstress is back with her new album on a new label. 11:11 Reset is the Keyshia Cole that everyone wanted. She’s emotional, honest and raw. Fans of Cole will appreciate the album as it hearkens back to her first two albums, The Way It Is and Just Like You. Cole is best when she’s heartbroken, as she finds inspiration from the breakdown of her marriage to write her pain into meaningful songs. “You” was the first song released from the album, and was a perfect way to kickoff the album release. Joined by French Montana and rapper Remy Ma, Cole kisses off an ex lover and proclaims that she’s done with the relationship. “Right Time” has HIT written all over it, as Cole has no time for her ex lover’s lives. The Tupac-sampled “Ride” has that Oakland feel on it, while the heartfelt “Emotional” proves why Cole is a veteran at singing her heart out.
Ty Dolla $ign - Beach House 3
Released: October 27th
The rapper hitmaker is back with the next installation of his Beach House series. Beach House 3 was conceived to be a follow up mixtape, but he decided to release this as an album instead. The collection includes 20 songs, ranging from club tracks to mellow, chill groove. There are many star collaborations throughout the album, from Lil’ Wayne to Skrillex to Damian Marley. Lead single, “Love U Better,” features Lil’ Wayne and The Dream and samples “I Can Love You” by Mary J. Blige. The track is a nice, bouncy tune that will have the listener crooning how they can love someone better than the person they are with. The heavily West Coast-influenced “Ex” is the jam where you can roll down your windows and cruise down the beach. “Ex” features Compton-based rapper YG. The trap song “In Your Phone” features his current girlfriend, Lauren Jauregui from Fifth Harmony, and is a cute song about two lovers questioning each other about their motives. If you love Ty Dolla $ign and his formulaic songs, then this album is for you.
Chris Brown - Heartbreak on a Full Moon
Released October 31
The infamous troublemaker is back with a new album after a disappointing previous release, Royalty. Heartbreak on a Full Moon is a collection of 45 songs, in which was made into a double disc for physical release. The album could have been made shorter to create a more cohesive album, gathering the stronger songs. Some of the songs do feel like filler, as they seem to blend like one huge song as many songs are similar in music structure. The “Turn Me On”-sampled “Questions” is a great dance song, with a reggae feel to grind your hips to. The fan favorite, “Juicy Booty,” has a retro 90s feel that everyone can bop to, and features Jhene Aiko and R. Kelly. “Roses” brings the music down by being a nice trap-influenced song likening a woman’s body and her sexuality to beautiful roses.
Chris Young - Losing Sleep
Released October 20th
The Nashville Star winner returns with his seventh album, taking on a more production role and co-wrote every song on the album. Chris Young’s voice is undoubtedly country; there’s depth and a tender texture there when he sings ballads. The lead single “Losing Sleep” is country pop at its finest, with a catchy hook that listeners will love to sing along. “She’s Got a Way” is a country road trip-type of song, describing his perfect irresistible woman. The romantic “Woke Up Like This” details how he enjoys looking at his woman in the morning after a night of beautiful love making. “Blacked Out” and “Where I Go When I Drink” slow things down and allow Young to show his tender side and really appreciate his emotional, smooth voice.