Album Spotlight: Cole Swindell, ‘You Should Be Here’
Cole Swindell gets his heart broken — or at least wounded — on many songs from You Should Be Here, his second studio album. But the album as a whole offers diversity and depth that his debut did not.
"Stay Downtown" is a fine representative of the album as a whole. Sonically and lyrically Swindell continues to sing to the crowd and not the band. Arthouse critics won’t be fawning over much from this 12-song collection, but there are sure to be multiple hits beyond the title track. The Cole Taylor and Matt Dragstrem-written ballad twists the late-night phone call story on its head and wraps the chorus in a snackable melody.
Swindell doesn’t have Chris Young’s range vocally, so he’s forced to dig deep emotionally. Again and again he does it on You Should Be Here. “Broke Down,” a ballad that compares his his heart to a truck left to rust on the soft shoulder of the highway, stands out. “Up” is the best love song, but “Remember Boys” is the true star of this album. This acoustic life lesson fits Swindell better than anything he’s released to date. It’s the only song on You Should Be Here that’s not drenched in production, and the break is as refreshing as a rain in August. Brad Tursi (of Old Dominion) and Dorff wrote the lyrics, but the 32-year-old Georgia native adds the soul.
Fans of the Cole Swindell album will find a few party songs (“No Can Left Behind” and “Flatliner” with Dierks Bentley), but the heart of this album is Swindell’s heart. While not vulnerable, it’s a project that opens doors for him to show more scars in the future.
Key Tracks: "Broke Down," "Up," "Remember Boys"
Did You Know?: "Middle of a Memory" was written in the middle of writing "Kiss," a song from Swindell's Down Home Sessions EP. “The second verse it says, ‘Girl you left me here with half a beer in the middle of a memory.’ And we looked at each other when we said that line, like ‘We gotta write that,'" Swindell says.
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