As her potential debut single (it has not been confirmed, but she did tell MTV News that she wants it to be), "All Cried Out" is a knock-out punch of emotions. Coming from a place of unabashed honesty, Kree pours her pain and soul into the song's stirring lyrics. The tune was co-written by Katrina Elam, Gordie Sampsonand Steve McEwan – the songwriters behind such hits for Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Eli Young Band, Hunter Hayes, Reba McEntire and newcomer Lauren Alaina.
At first listen, I got chills. That doesn't happen often, but when it does, I know I'm listening to something really special.
Some might be turned off by the sappy lyrics, but it is Kree's conviction that elevates a song that could be rather bland if performed by another artist. It channels Carrie Underwood ("Just a Dream," "Temporary Home") and Trisha Yearwood ("This is Me You're Talking To") at their finest, while bringing a freshness and fervent drive to the storytelling.
Even the instrumentation and arrangement harkens back to more rootsy and traditional influences rather than the current trend of Country-pop or -rock in the mainstream.
"They say when the last tear comes, you can tell by the way it falls. It’s like seeing everything for the first time again. It’s not like the pain is gone, just hurts a little bit less. You know you’re going to cross that line, who knows what you’re going to find. It’s only a matter of time in the end," she tenderly caresses on the first verse.
A little backstory (in case you are not aware): Kree and her sister Laci lost both parents rather early on. Kree, at age 12, lost her father in plane crash. At 19, her mother died in a car accident. Talk about a tragic twist of fate. During her recent Top 3 hometown visit to Woodville, Texas, producers filmed an emotional segment with Kree and Laci returning to their childhood home.
From that vastly deep well to draw upon, Kree is able to craft a poignant performance, not holding back as the song ebbs and flows in time. While it clearly isn't made for summer (as radio seems obsessed with head-bobbing and fist-pumping beats), it would be a travesty if this song did not land on every DJ's playlist across the country.
Thematically, the song pulls in the listener on a simple hook and a rather broad idea. I think we've all reached that point where we are "all cried out," when it comes to an experience, whether that be death, or some other tragedy. It's relatable and fits perfectly with many of Country music's most iconic songs.
If you listen to this song and aren't moved in some way, you don't have a heart.
Overall Grade: A+
Bonus: While Kree did not write this single, she previously penned a song called "You Would've Wanted It That Way," which she co-wrote with hit-makers Natalie Hemby ("Pontoon") and Trent Dabbs ("Undermine" from ABC's Nashville), to honor her parents.
"Left all the flowers in the living room; shook every hand I didn't know; stacked all the cards I'll read to you when I get alone," she sweetly sings in the first verse. "I made the bed hung your favorite dress, mailed all the letters that you saved, broke the news over every call that you couldn't make."
If I was grading the second song, I would give it an A+, as well. It needs to find its place on her debut album.