The California-based Williams said the 13 tracks are based on her mother's death, as well as a breakup with "a drug addict who was a recovering drug addict when I met him and fell off the wagon."
"There's always going to be the pain and suffering -- that's just part of life," said Williams, who's quite happily engaged these days to record executive Tom Overby. "This whole idea that people are too happy to write is, I don't know -- an excuse, I think, for lack of inspiration, 'cause the inspiration comes from within."
"West," co-produced by Williams and Hal Wilner, is the three-time Grammy winner's first new album in four years.
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]