Single Review: Kristen Kelly, "He Loves to Make Me Cry"

He-Loves-to-Make-Me-Cry-Kristen-KellyMore noteworthy as a vocal showcase than as a lyrical composition.

“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

Grade:  B-


  1. Love this song. The lyrics are engaging enough for me. The chorus deals with the tears of joy rather than heartache concept you mention. In the first verse we learn how thoughtful and romantic her man is. In the second, she tells us that he took her to a place some women never find. What else do you want? It’s a 3 minute and 45 second song, not a novel.

  2. “After a while, her stretching out one-syllable words into three syllables just feels grating.”

    Had the same exact thought when I first listened. Get out of my head Ben!

    Great review.

  3. Spot on review, Ben.

    I loved “Ex-Old Man,” but something is missing here.

    Kristen has a fantastic voice, but the lyrical content is lackluster, and the performance does come across as self-indulgent at times. If a singer has the vocal chops to show off, I would prefer to see that talent used tastefully.

    Sadly, that’s not the case here for me.

    She has a lot of talent, though, and a truly great voice. One of the first new female country artists to catch my interest in awhile.

  4. “After a while, her stretching out one-syllable words into three syllables just feels grating.”

    Then you must not like Reba McEntire very much ;)

    I do like this song; it doesn’t belong in the country genre IMO (more than anything it strikes me as remarkably similar to Kelly Clarkson’s “The Trouble With Love Is”), but it’s a sweet, simple song with a good vocal performance. I can appreciate that.

  5. There is nothing wrong with streching out one syllable words into 3 once in a while, but when you over do it it just takes away from good lyrics. Yes, Reba McEntire has done that and I do believe that Reba would be a more effective singer is she didn’t overdo her vocals. To me it always goes back to the song and lyrics. Power vocals are only impressive once or twice. I’d rather get the feeling of the song.

  6. This song has more of a jazz or R&B feel to it than it does anything relating to country music. For me it works , but I tend to be more jazz-oriented than most country fans. The voice is good >> B+

  7. …on the “live from new orleans” album of merle haggard, he rhetorically asks among other things: “…what’s better than the blues?”

    from that angle, this is a rather decent try by miss kelly. i fairly enjoyed her bottom-line musings on her old man and best girlfriend of earlier. vocal talent, versatility and a fair amount of humor make an interesting enough combo for me in a new artist. let’s see what happens next.

  8. I love this song! She is so amazing in this song, ya know every song isn’t for everyone. I think people can be so critical and ruin it for everyone else.

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