Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
Soulful Music Poster Image
A truly gifted Idol singer with heart.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

On this CD, boys just want to have fun.


Ruben keeps it friendly.


There are a few lightly sexual references, nothing really explicit.


Ruben keeps it clean, except for a well-placed "Damn" here and there.


For an American Idol winner, "Soulful" is actually pretty low-key.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

"It's like stayin' out all night, and way too much to drink," he apologizes--once.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a fun CD that everyone in the family will like. There are a couple of edgy lines that keep this from being G-rated, but compared to most tween and teen CDs, this is a guiltless pleasure. You might want to ask your kids why they think other people have to be so "in your face" when Ruben is just as entertaining without any sexual, commercial, or violent messages.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written bymc2004 April 9, 2008

Nice debut album

This is a very good CD and is much better than Clay Aiken's. However, this is also the most adult American Idol album and is only suitable for teens. Alt... Continue reading

What's the story?

Ruben Studdard stole a lot of hearts during his stint on American Idol. We rooted for him because he didn't look like your typical pop pretty-boy; we liked him because he seemed like a sweetie; but we voted for him because of his wonderful voice -- rich, expressive, and soulful. Appropriately, Ruben's debut CD is called SOULFUL, and that he is. He doesn't disappoint, shining the most on the cover tunes: \"How Can You Mend A Broken Heart\" is a show-stopper. \"Superstar,\" usually sung by women as kind of a backstage groupie's lament, is given an interesting twist with his straight-ahead, masculine delivery.

Is it any good?

On Soulful, Ruben shows off his phenomenal singing abilities to near perfection. There's a little bit of imaginary drinking and a couple of playfully sexy interludes ("What Is Sexy," "After the Candles Burn"), but this very mild CD is unlikely to offend anyone, particularly because Ruben's sweetness shines throughout. Although the musical arrangements and production fall far short of doing the singer justice, Ruben's amazing voice will make this a CD the whole family can enjoy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Ruben's incredible voice and how body image doesn't always play a part in winning. How important is image for a singer? You can also discuss how being the "nice guy" goes a long way.

Music details

  • Artist: Ruben Studdard
  • Release date: December 9, 2003
  • Label: J Records
  • Genre: Pop
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: July 15, 2015

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