Album Review: Cole Swindell’s ‘You Should Be Here’

You Should Be Here cements Cole Swindell as a solo artist who is able to write hit after hit while emotionally connecting with the listener.

Album Review: Cole Swindell’s ‘You Should Be Here’
Cole Swindell; Photo courtesy Schmidt Relations

Cole Swindell continues to show his vulnerability and songwriting talents throughout his sophomore album, You Should Be Here. While his fun side remains intact on songs like the upbeat opening track “Flatliner,” which features Dierks Bentley, and weekend party anthem “No Can Left Behind,” his maturity shines through on nostalgic tracks like “Middle of a Memory,” “You Should Be Here” and album closer “Remember Boys.”

Swindell co-wrote seven of the 12 songs on You Should Be Here, which follows his successful 2014 RIAA Platinum certified self-titled release. The Georgia native debuted the title track as the first single off the project in December and it quickly rose to No. 1 on both the Billboard and Mediabase charts thanks to the relatability and poignant storytelling within the song.

“You Should Be Here” fittingly is the backbone of the album. An all too real song about the loss of a loved one, it became somewhat of a movement online as fans would use the song’s title as a hashtag to tell their own stories of moments where they wished a loved one was still with them. A timeless single, Swindell has said he moved to Nashville to write songs like the powerful title track.

Cole Swindell You Should Be Here Album

Photo courtesy Warner Music Nashville

Where “You Should Be Here” shows Swindell’s depth, other songs like “Middle of a Memory” and “Remember Boys” demonstrate his romantic side. On “Middle of a Memory” Swindell is left alone on the dance floor when his dance partner’s friends interrupt and drag her away. Co-written with Ashley Gorley and Zach Crowell, “Middle of a Memory” provides a vivid storyline sang from the perspective of a guy regretting not getting a girl’s number.

Meanwhile, “Remember Boys” embodies a sweet sentiment offering men advice on how to treat their ladies like opening the door for her, telling her that he loves her and filling her dreams with hope. “I don’t want to be a one night boy / I don’t want to be an ain’t right boy / I don’t wanna be a had a ball waited out no call kinda love song boy / I don’t want to be a regret / Or the one that she forgets,” he sings.

While 32-year-old Swindell shows his ability to portray everyday emotions throughout his lyrics, he also knows a thing or two about having a good time. One of the most enjoyable moments on the album is opening track “Flatliner.” Swindell wrote the song years ago and sent it along to Bentley in hopes for him to cut. When it came time to recording his sophomore album, he decided to reach out once again and see if his friend would accompany him. The fast-paced track is a perfect duet between the two artists. A song about a girl that stops him in his boots, Swindell asks Bentley what he should do to get this girls attention. The banter between the two make the already fun track even more enjoyable as Bentley suggests Swindell go up to the girl to play her a song.

Grab a guitar and go sing her a song, Bentley suggests. “Dont play one of yours. Play one of mine, man! Shes worth the whiskey, bro. Go get her one.

Additional album highlights include “Broke Down,” a unique lyric that has Swindell stuck on the side of the road but not because his car broke down. In fact, it’s quite the opposite as he has emotionally broken down when he hears an old school Tim McGraw song that strikes up a memory of his ex. “Baby I broke down and it ain’t the truck this time,” he expressively sings alongside soaring electric guitar.

While Swindell got his start selling merchandise on the road with Luke Bryan, often co-writing with him, You Should Be Here cements the country singer as a solo artist who is able to write hit after hit while emotionally connecting with the listener. With five consecutive No. 1 songs as an artist under his belt, Swindell’s latest endeavor promises many more.