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Cole Swindell ‘You Should Be Here’ Album Review

By Claire Weston

There’s a lot of pressure on a sophomore album and i was intrigued to see how Cole Swindell would follow up his platinum selling debut album.

‘You Should Be Here’ was released on May 6th 2016 through Warner Brothers Nashville, following the release of the title track to country radio back in December 2015. It was a great choice of a single. The heartbreaking reality of life after losing a loved one – in this case, Cole’s father – showed a whole new side to his music. People who had previously dismissed him because of the associated ‘bro country’ tags sat up and paid attention.

There are 7 tracks co-written by Cole on this album. I love when artists directly link to previous songs, especially with country music so focused on great storytelling. ‘Middle Of A Memory’ is Cole’s next single, and was written in the middle of writing ‘Kiss’ (which can be found on the Down Home Sessions EP). I love the approach of having two different paths from the same situation. ‘Party Wasn’t Over’, co-written with Florida Georgia Line and Canaan Smith, seems to be the sequel to ‘Swayin’ – “Hands up in the air, still swaying. That band she loves still playing”.

Other stand out tracks for me are ‘Broke Down’, ‘Up’ and ‘Stars’. ‘Broke Down’ starts with a slick guitar riff and a reference to “Old school McGraw” and goes on to a correlation between trucks and heartbreak; “Baby I broke down, and it ain’t the truck this time”. ‘Up’ is an upbeat track with dance-infused chorus amidst a love story.

‘No Can Left Behind’ is the song that i can see myself drunkenly swaying along to and singing at the top of my voice, at the end of the night. I imagine it would work well towards the end of Cole’s live sets. I haven’t been able to see a live show yet, but heading to both South Carolina and Michigan next month to change that!

Cole Swindell’s voice is perfect for ballads, and that’s another reason i love this album. He’s focused on what works and mostly dismissed what doesn’t. There is a more mature voice – the whiskey fuelled one night stands of ‘Hope You Get Lonely Tonight’ (Still my favourite track on the first album) are swapped with the more reflective ‘Stay Downtown’ and ‘Remember Boys’.

My only letdown is ‘Flatliner’, the duet with Dierks Bentley, which is way below par with the rest of the album. I struggled to listen to the lyrics even just once and can’t quite grasp why this is the opening track. It certainly doesn’t set the tone for the remainder of the album.

I’m glad i listened to ‘You Should Be Here’ in its entirety. It’s a strong album, showing a different side to him than the first but still with a few familiar elements. Definitely worth a listen!


1. Flatliner (Jaron Boyer, Matt Bronleewe,  Cole Swindell)
2. Middle of a Memory (Swindell, Zach Crowell, Ashley Gorley)
3. Broke Down (Swindell, Michael Carter,  Gorley)
4. Home Game (Aaron Eshuis, Brandon Lay, Heather Morgan)
5. Up (Terry McBride, Brad Tursi)
6. Party Wasn’t Over (Swindell, Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley, Canaan Smith)
7. Stay Downtown (Matt Dragstrem, Cole Taylor)
8. You Should Be Here (Gorley, Swindell)
9. Stars (Ben Hayslip, Chase McGill)
10. Making My Way to You (Dragstrem, Taylor, Swindell, Carter)
11. No Can Left Behind (Swindell, Carter, Brandon Kinney)
12. Remember Boys (Andrew Dorff, Tursi)


Annette Gibbons
Hi, I’m Annette, I have been a huge country music fan since the early 90s those were the days we were lucky enough to have CMT in the UK. I enjoy nothing more than listening to country music whilst having a cold beer (or a moonshine) with friends. I try to as many gigs as I can here in the UK and in the USA; I think of Nashville as my second home and I am lucky to have made some amazing friends in Tennessee. Think Country is something I am very proud of, I just want to share my love and passion of all things country music related with you all.
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