Cole Swindell has made quite the impression on country music listeners since his debut album in 2014. With five consecutive #1 singles and several more as a songwriter, Swindell’s success is rather undeniable. Today, May 6th, Swindell released his sophomore album, You Should Be Here.
The most recent single and title track, “You Should Be Here” struck a chord with fans as a touching and relatable song about missing a loved one and wishing they were still around for major life events. While this is definitely the deepest song on the record, other sweet songs such as “Stars” and “Making My Way To You” make an impression as well. The former, despite its simplistic lyricism, gives listeners that movie-style romance that people tend to gravitate towards and wish for. The latter describes how sometimes, the unexpected turns you take in life can land you right where you’re supposed to be and who you’re supposed to be with. “Remember Boys” has also become a fan favorite, with its sweet sentiment preaching that chivalry isn’t dead nor overrated.
A “trend” of sorts has made it’s way through country music recently, in which melancholy songs are paired with a more uptempo melody. This juxtaposition is something Swindell tried his hand at in “Broke Down,” a song that struggles with the loss of love in a relationship. However, because there aren’t many songs on the album that tap into this type of emotion, it may have been better kept as a ballad; instead of adding intrigue to the lyrics, the melody tries to mask the sad undertones of the song and takes away from its vulnerability. “Stay Downtown” uses this same tactic, but the assertive, albeit bitter, nature of the lyrics are a much more appropriate choice for this popular theme.
As can be expected from any country album release, Swindell’s has its fair share of party anthems. “No Can Left Behind” is your classic line-dancing at a honky tonk song that makes you feel like the artist is in the room, partying with you — similar to that of Luke Bryan’s “All My Friends Say.” Likewise, “Flatliner” which fittingly features Dierks Bentley, sonically mirrors Bentley’s “5-1-5-0” and feels festival-ready from the get go. Meanwhile, “Up” explores a sound closer related to Florida Georgia Line’s style.
While the album covers the bases with a mix of ballads, anthems, and songs of infatuation, something still feels unsatisfactory about Swindell’s latest project. “Middle of a Memory” and “Party Wasn’t Over” both attempt to be adoring, as the protagonist is pining after a beautiful woman, but something seems to miss the mark. “We were gonna dance ’til they shut it down / people’d be starin’ while I spin you around/ thinkin’ we were so in love yeah / they wouldn’t know we hadn’t even hooked up.” Although the lyrics can be relatable, they lack the poeticism and genuine quality needed to truly feel connected to them. Comparatively, “Home Game,” is a nostalgic song that revisits one’s adolescence and the emotions and experiences that come with it. It almost follows suit with “That Was Us” by Kip Moore, but without the depth and sincerity that makes it a song that fans feel to their core.
With all of that said, Swindell has a solid fan base and an easy-to-recognize sound that will most likely bring more success to the singer/songwriter. You can now purchase You Should Be Here, including bonus tracks “Hoppin'” and “Gettin’ Forgotten,” on iTunes. For more information on Swindell and his music, visit coleswindell.com.