“Ex-Old Man” singer Kirsten Kelly’s new single “He Loves to Make Me Cry” flies in the face of the country radio status quo with its smooth, bluesy arrangement. I genuinely have to give Kelly credit for stepping outside the box, and it is interesting to hear her show a bit more of her range and vocal texture than she did on her debut single.
But a great production alone does not a great record make. The lyrical concept of “He Loves to Make Me Cry” hinges its impact on the fact that tears can be a sign of joy and contentment instead of heartache, but fails to express that truth in a way that feels novel or revelatory. The fact that the lyrics aren’t sufficiently engaging causes Kelly’s belted-out delivery to come across as unnecessary and almost self-indulgent. Such a performance works only if the lyrical content warrants it, which in this case it doesn’t. After a while, her stretching out one-syllable words into three syllables just feels grating.
The single is, however, enough to keep me interested in Kelly’s music, as it demonstrates a willingness to be different which will
undoubtedly serve her well in the future. But that will only be the case if she can channel that spirit into a more compelling song than this one.
Written by Kristen Kelly, Paul Overstreet, and Even Stevens