Released in 2014, 12 tracks, 41 min
Swindell On His Debut Self Titled Album Takes Us On A Journey Where Love Comes And Goes, But Parties Always Rock
Of the Country Rock artists who lean towards warm Pop melodies, my money is on Cole Swindell. He just has the most crowd pleasing quality, and sounds quite talented vocally and instrumentally on his debut album entitled Cole Swindell – owning his sound by slapping his name on it. Swindell’s voice is his most powerful asset – rarely disappointing except in a couple instances here. With his authentic Georgia boy twang and boyish charm, it is hard not to like the guy, want to party with the guy, and not feel bad for the guy when his heart has been broken. He sounds both vibrantly youthful but also wisened and forlorn, and there is no note he can’t hit if he goes for it. There is a rough timbre to his vocals, but not overly so. Generally, I find that he has such an agreeable sound that I would hesitate to be too critical when the music strays into generic territory. Reading up on his personal life, I feel for the guy even more knowing that his father, without much warning, passed away in September 2013 just a month after Swindell released his first successful single “Chillin’ It”. How tragic that must have been to lose a ‘rock’ such as one’s father – and learning of this provided so much food for thought and insight for me. On the one hand, I am so happy that his father was able to see the first steps of Swindell’s career coming to fruition. On the other hand, it is a bit sad that he wouldn’t see his son’s career progress to the heights it is today – as he is recognized as one of the best names in the biz after major tours and three hit albums. That is life though – full of unexpected turns – and instead of wallowing in sadness, Swindell just ascended – I am sure partly because his father would have wanted him to.
A Shaky Start Soon Gets A Whole Lot Better
Great albums have great openers, and though I am swept up in the easy going joys of Cole Swindell, I am not 100% satisfied with first tack “Hey Y’all” – and perhaps only 50% interested in its content at that. What works here is the happy feelings which come from a simple yet emotional melody, which features attention grabbing drums and wailing guitar moments. What doesn’t work as well is the forced nature of clunky phrases attempted, and the too-many-words per bar deliveries. I say slow it down – but I think I know what is at hand; Cole Swindell is a young guy circa 2014 who wants to infuse some Hip Hop cadence into his music from the get go – even if he has to wing it. And that is exactly what the result is – it is somewhat inauthentic, not terribly confident, and above all, clumsy. Yet for girls who find his attempting such a concept adorable, the song may totally work, and for fellas who grew up on equal parts Country and Hip Hop, a song like this may be too infectious to not sing-rap along to. A sing-rap, or rather, sing-talk cadence accompanies the next song “Chillin’ It”, yet here, the confidence level is much higher, while the pace is measured out perfectly, creating a stronger desire to sing along, whatever your genre preference. I happen to like all genres, and I feel I can recognize when a song is working – this one just does, putting a smile on my face. Swindell favors banjo syncopation – and here, that rhythm really keeps the rockin’ atmosphere rollin’. The tempo slows down and the music gets even better on the sweet and moving ballad “Swayin’”, where the melody perfectly reflects the title, through low fall-in-love bass and heavily layered romantic chords. Meanwhile, Swindell repeats rhyming words with a lot of vocal liberty, but because I like the quality of his voice, what could have been a nasally and annoying sounding hook sounds right as rain. I sure wouldn’t mind kissing a girl to this ballad.
When It Comes To Sex And Love, Except For Swayin’, The Ballads Lack A Certain Effectiveness
By the look of the title, “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight”, I’d initially guess that this was a diss song – but in fact, it is a very tender invitation addressed to a girl to late-night rendezvous with Swindell. He does sings some silly sounding deliveries, approaching a cartoonish Weird Al timbre while saying lines like “if you're feelin' what I'm feelin' let's mix it up / you got my number baby hit me up”, but that is more me being over critical about Country Pop artists’ generally weak ‘sex talk game’ rather than the wholesome innocence which is also clearly evident. While the title suggests a much sexier vibe and Cole Swindell gets another crack at being a sexpot, “Let Me See You Ya Girl” suffers from it’s arrangement, which though guitar heavy, isn’t really that seductive. Likewise, “I Just Want You” has an annoying needy sound that isn’t sexy either. That’s three love ballads that just don’t sound like they are hitting the way their titles imply – but I can concede that for a post break up love ballad, the regretful lyrics are well written and the melody is appropriately somber on “A Dozen Roses and a Six-Pack”. With notes that balance worry with a glimmer of hope that she might come back - Swindell finally delivers again in the romance department.
Swindell Is Best When Soundtracking The Party
What’s a Country album without songs with alcoholic beverages somewhere in the title. Fresh from a break up, Swindell telegraphs to his ex “don’t think for a second I’m out to drown your memory / baby you ain’t worth the whiskey.” Damn skippy. “Ain’t Worth The Whisky” rock’s real hard, and Cole Swindell sings with tons of defiance and twang, while another one, “Brought To You By Beer” paints such a good time being had, showing Swindell as a single man untethered, making observations of party goers who are each having a blast while downing their brews. I really love the energy of this last song, and also the loud danceable funky anthem “Get Up”, which is impossible not to get up to, though the song is certainly addressed to a fun loving girl willing to climb on to Swindell’s shoulders and party hard. It is in fact here where there is the clearest sounding example of Swindell’s voice sounding sexiest and in charge – and if he could put that same energy in the other love ballads, he would have all his bases covered.
Official Music Videos
- Feb 18, 2014