#MusicMonday: Kelly Clarkson gets back to her soulful sound with ‘Meaning of Life’

Kelly Clarkson is only 36 years young and she’s already had a Greatest Hits Album. The original American Idol winner is back to her signature soulful sound with her eighth studio album Meaning of Life.  It was released on October 27, 2017 and debuted on the US Billboard Hot 200 at #2.

Song by Song Review

A Minute (Intro): 

A broken down minute long r&b track about needing a minute to be yourself. Written and produced by The Monarch with writing input from Jim McCormick and Katie Pearlman, was primarily made for Clarkson, whose hectic family and work life have made it hard for her to take a minute break for herself.

Love So Soft: 

A soul-trap anthem, very different from Clarkson’s usual stuff, picks up where Duffy’s “Mercy” left off. With Clarkson’s usual attitude, it tells a love story about something palpable between two people, “if you break it, you buy it” type love. Written by hitmaker Priscilla Renea.

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Heat: A catchy soul-trap pop sound paints a track where you are begging someone for a hot as coals type of love, one that has you warm all over, smiling from ear to ear.

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Meaning of Life: the title track and the song that started the entire project. The vibe, soul and message of this song showcases Clarkson’s new direction musically. It is a track that has an r&b signature sound but about a love that brightens the colors around you & catches you completely brand new.

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Move You: A ballad with a drum-string combination about wanting to make such a lasting impact on someone you end up moving them.

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Whole Lotta Woman: A body positive and female empowerment song about being loud & proud of your shape, your curves, and confidence in your femininity.

My favorite song on the album because it has the signature sound of a Clarkson anthem but with a powerful progressive measure. March on, ladies. Own who you are.

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Medicine: Schultz and Harlœ co-wrote and produced the seventh track “Medicine” as a tribute to the ’90s and was inspired by Carey’s song “Emotions” (1991). It has an up-tempo pop musicality which sets the stage  for this track about a past lover who she has moved on from who did nothing for her.

Cruel: An r&b jazz pop fusion about a hard to love lover that you are commanding respect from.

Didn’t I: A pop soul track about a lover you gave the moon, sun, and stars to and her or she took you for granted.

Would You Call That Love: A track about how someone loves you but they love you with a complete dichotomy of what love is supposed to be.

I Don’t Think About You: The soul-infused power-ballad chronicles losing a prominent love in your life only to realize you’re better off without them.

Slow Dance: A slow tempo ballad about taking things slow in order to let the fire or heat between two people simmer.

Don’t You Pretend: A slow tempo song that begs a man to be honest about his true feelings, and quit pretending he doesn’t feel the same.

Go High: A song about staying kind in a world that tries to turn you wicked, sour, and miserable.

Overall, Meaning of Life doesn’t have one bad song. It is short but sweet, and shows depth, growth, and wisdom of Clarkson’s person and artistry.

 

 

#MusicMonday: Pink’s Beautiful Trauma is raw and vulnerable in all her signature colorful ways

P!nk is hands down one of my favorite pop artists and it isn’t because she has the most amazing voice or has songs with popping beats but because she’s 100% herself with everything she puts out musically, and usually it always has connotations of female empowerment and encouraging young women to break glass ceilings and if they happen to not fit inside the box society tries to put them in…oh fucking well.

Beautiful Trauma was released in October of 2017 which meant it was her first album in five years time. The album debuted at #1 during it’s release week before ranking at #30 on the Billboard Hot 200.

When I first listened to it, I wasn’t sure I was a fan of it. Yet, it took a good ten listens for me to realize the amazing artistry hidden within each song and I do hope my review highlights the greatness of Pink’s Beautiful Trauma.

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Song by Song Review

Beautiful Trauma: The title track opens the album with a track about how life’s trauma can turn to beauty over time, and musically describes a love relationship that bubbles and fizzes at just the right temperature to keep one sane.

Whatever You Want: This uplifting power ballad finds the singer fighting for a relationship that seems doomed.pablo (27)

What About Us: Anthem-like musicality made this a great first single off the album with lyrics speaking to the heart of love and trust whether that be between two people or within society as a whole.

But We Lost It: A piano ballad that discusses a relationship that charged with so much positivity (joy, happiness, and peace) but time wasn’t on their side. Almost like a spark between two people that flickers, dims, and dies.

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Barbies: My favorite song on the entire album because of it’s soft musicality mixed with lullaby-like elements. It perfectly expresses that adult moment when nostalgia seems to take over and all you want to do is go back to being a kid with naivete and innocence “playing barbies in your room.” Co-written by Julia Michaels.

Where We Go: Catchy pop rock musicality make this worth a few listens, with a lyrical tale about letting go of a relationship that is doomed for disaster.

For Now: A song about reminiscing an old flame and getting stuck on the highs without realizing the lows.pablo (29).png

Secrets: A song about a truth about life and all of us have secrets or private parts we don’t express to just anyone.

Better Life: A track discussing the highlight reel effect social media has on all of us.

I Am Here: A brand new ballad version of Just Like Fire, expressing realizing you are enough as is ,and you are here in this moment.

Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken:

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A political yet poetic ballad about 19th century women and incorporates the #MeToo movement.

You Get My Love: The final track on the album emotionally pleading and raw about the gift of her love.

 

#BookReview: Does God exist? Silva offers expansive proof.

I’ve never wondered if God exists or not. I have, though, doubted God working in my life or that he could fix the broken pieces of my heart, at times. Yet, that is because I was always raised to have faith, and it was a foundation that stuck, even though my church family has changed over the years.

Yet, a lot of people are not like me in that way, they were either raised in a faith-based home and chose to rebel by choosing a whole new faith, or they just saw no use for God in their life.

If you are one of the many who has kept an open mind in terms of God and God’s existence, this is the perfect book to add to your TBR list.

Some features of this book include:

  • Reads like a textbook
  • very thorough
  • presented all sides of the argument without showing bias
  • proved that God exists
  • ends with a collection of quotes from famous scientists quoting that God, without a doubt, is scientifically proven to exist.

Yet, I won’t just share that this book proves that God exists but once you read it, you will see the many ways that you encounter every day that stand as explicit proof.

 

 

#BookReview: Let’s Meet God by Chris Hearn

As a believer, I always love returning to the basics of my faith. That’s why from the very beginning of this short but sweet Bible companion, I enjoyed each entry in this book of FAQ’s about the Christian faith.

This 78 page book discusses the Christian faith in an open-minded and easy to read format. It is written as a frequently asked question page for a website but for Christianity or someone new to the faith. It allows anyone to find out more about God through faith in Christ Jesus, while still remaining scholarly.

#BookReview: After The Storm by Ava St. Pierre @wisebeautyqueen

Mental Illness carries much of a stigma even though it is 2018. Finally, people are deciding to be open about it whether they themselves struggle with it or someone they know and love.

I believe it should be openly discussed so that those who struggle with it can get the help and healing they deserve.

And so began the reason I couldn’t say no to reading Ava St. Pierre’s memoir.

She’s this prestigious beauty queen who was a pretty big deal in Texas as well as the ability to dapple in the VIP lifestyle because of her Mrs. Texas America title.

Yet, her story is definitely one for the books which is why I was glad her daughter Sheree sent it to me.

Growing up in a family of seven children, they lived a cool, calm, and collected existence. That was until the storm hit.

By storm, I am referring to her mother’s fits of rage that caused a severe accident with one of Ava’s younger brothers. These fits of rage were eventually diagnosed as amnesia, paranoia, and schizophrenia, and her father decided to raise the children as a single parent which left Ava’s birth mother to remain homeless for most of her life.

One thing I loved about the memoir is how easy it was to read despite the heaviness in topic and themes, and how Ava remained positive and used her story to showcase that no matter what anyone goes through in life, they can either sit and feel sorry for themselves or they can share their story to encourage others.

And Ava succeeds at the latter, and her story will provide hope that life gets better no matter the severity of the storm and the after effects that remain.

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#NationalPoetryMonth: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Poetry is like reading one of those little notes you used to pass around in middle school. So short and sweet but if you found one laying on the ground or accidentally got passed one, it was like you got to be part of the secret, and you instantly felt like you weren’t alone in your feelings.

Milk and Honey is like that. It’s short, sweet, and oh so vital for today’s society. It says so much without saying it that by the end of the book, you feel as though you want to hug Rupi Kaur for all she writes about but also feel that if she hugged you back, it would be because you experienced similar situations which is why her words jumped off the page and danced before you a private ballet.

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The second read through of Milk and Honey showed the heartaches I was most familiar with and how Kaur’s words healed them.

When my sisters both read her book, I actually rolled my eyes because why would they fall head over heals for a book unless it was popular. Then, I retracted that eye roll when (plus I realized my sisters don’t read that much) I started reading it and Kaur’s words grabbed me by the shirt collar like a thug on the street looking to rob me but then mistakenly realized I was a long lost cousin and smoothed down my shirt and said, Coffee?

So we sat down metaphorically and sipped coffee and discussed the four different heartaches we’ve known:

  1.  The Hurting 
  2. The Loving
  3. The Breaking
  4. The Healing

As you can see from my notes, the poems in the Breaking and Healing sections spoke the most to my wallflower heart. Without further ado, here is some of my favorite poems shared with public permission from Rupi Kaur’s Facebook page:

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I want to marry this poem and divorce it all in the same moment.

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#NationalPoetryMonth: Pulling Words by Nicholas Trandahl

The thing about reading poetry is if you already are a poet, it awakens an innate desire to take the words before you, inhale them, and exhale them into poetry regurgitated but uniquely yours.

According to Winter Goose’s site:

With Pulling Words, a collection that simply and honestly showcases the drama and quietude of life, poet Nicholas Trandahl displays written snapshots of the world he has explored and observed. He escorts readers from his childhood in rural Virginia to his troubled time as a deployed soldier in the Middle East, and from the empty beauty of Wyoming to the quaint charm of Martha’s Vineyard.

I’ve followed Nick’s poetic journey from the beginning and liked his use of nature to stick a lens into the bigger picture of life’s greatest mysteries and moments: love, being in love, marriage, pregnancy, and reminiscing childhood truths and young adult experiences that led to make the man.

Thankfully, I found out he was releasing a poetry collection just in time and rushed into the party even if I missed the hor d’oeuvres.  What follows is my take of the collection at large and some of my favorite quotes. Yet, as a poet myself, I know that reading poetry takes a few tries before the jigsaw pieces complete the puzzle :

Trandahl takes the reader down memory lane with poems about his childhood, his time serving in the Middle East, and a poem that feels like a fly on the wall during a family vacation. Nature and outdoorsy imagery is heavily used due to the poet’s love and adoration for the outdoors.

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This is my first favorite quote from the book because for me, I am most reminiscent of certain people and places when the wind hits me a certain way. The scents, the sounds, they all come rushing back, like wind carrying souls as it moves between the trees.

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With this quote, you can see the symbolism that nature provides both the poet and the reader, that life and love is reflected in the processes of nature: we sprout, we bloom, we grow, we bend, we wilt, we wither.

Please congratulate Nicholas for me by liking him on Facebook and by sharing this review fervently.

#BookReview: Fricke’s Debut ‘Corrupting Darkness’ will haunt you

From the first page, I was immediately like a fly on the wall observing the friendship of Ally Dekin and Fay Hadley.

Then, I was thrown for a loop, much like the main character Ally was, when Fay dies in a car accident only by the end of the second chapter.

This book is a gorgeous and worthy read despite being released via Amazon’s Createspace Publishing platform. Even though the issues in it were heavy and thick, much like life itself, Fricke’s writing style kept me turning the page because it was light, airy, and poetic in the best way.

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I really want you to win a signed copy of this book so go here to enter if you are in the US.

Giveaway ends on March 15, 2017 at 12 am est. You must watch the video to qualify as an entrant.

#BookReview: Prosperity is God’s Will For You; God’s Will is Prosperity by Gloria Copeland

It’s not a surprise that this book spoke to me. I’ve grown up looking to Gloria and her husband Kenneth Copeland as my spiritual parents. I’ve learned so much knowledge from them about God, how to use my faith, the power of using your mouth supernaturally to confess what you believe, etc.

This book surprised me because although some of the principles I’ve grown up on, it always seems like because they are simple that I seem to forget to apply them to my everyday life.

Some principles you will learn about in this book are:

1. God’s Will Is Prosperity
2. Priorities
3. Divine Prosperity
4. The Hundredfold Return
5. How To Receive From God
6. Our Angels At Work!
7. Yes, You Can Stand!
8. Defeat Satan’s Attacks

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Happy One Year, The Smart Cookie!