Cole Swindell’s ‘Stereotype’ album rewards his life, survived well
In Nashville circles, 38-year-old Cole Swindell is seen as a successful artist on the cusp of something much bigger. Via “Stereotype,” his fourth studio album released on April 8 via Warner Music Nashville, his most impactful moment as a superstar has finally arrived.
But, for the singer-songwriter with six No. 1 singles on country radio who describes “impatience” as one of his biggest flaws, his impending moment in the spotlight doesn’t come too soon.
Besides topping country music radio charts, Swindell is no stranger to acclaim. In 2015, he was the winner of the Academy of Country Music’s Best New Artist award. He toured with Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney (2015), Florida Georgia Line (2016), Dierks Bentley (2017), Luke Bryan (2019) and Thomas Rhett (2021).
Additionally, he wrote hits for Craig Campbell, Scotty McCreery and Bryan (with whom he credits launching his career as brothers in the Sigma Chi fraternity at Georgia Southern University) and Rhett.
“For my last two albums, I’ve only had two singles from each country radio station. That hurts me, as an artist and songwriter,” Swindell says. It’s chomping at the bit for its first release in four years, after a plethora of recordings and life delays.
“I’m not very good at being patient, and over the past few years I’ve had times where I panicked,” Swindell revealed. “In retrospect though, listening to how [“Stereotype”] It turns out that all these disturbing things show how much I care about my music and how much I want it to best reflect who I am.”
“I’ve survived a lot of personal loss, and on every album I’ve released, I’ve spoken about it. Overall, [processing grief] impacted the way I write songs and think about life,” Swindell notes. He adds a hopeful statement about how the empathy he learned over the last ten years of his life has benefited his career:
“I think I went through the things that I went through so I could write songs that help other people. I can say, ‘hey, I’m like you, and even though this song helps me, it helps you. , too.'”
Swindell’s parents and aunt died within the last decade. His father’s death in 2013 was sudden and unexpected, while fixing a truck that fell on him and killed him. He honored it in 2015 with the single “You Should Be Here”. Last September, her mother passed away and her aunt died four months later. In 2016, Swindell told the Tennessean that “everything [was] better when mom [was] there.” Coupled with the outbreak of COVID-19, the trauma of the past decade has weighed heavily on Swindell’s soul.
The emotional gravity of songs like “Never Say Never” – his hit country radio duet with Lainey Wilson – as well as “Every Beer” (co-written with HARDY and Jordan Schmidt), plus the 90s-inspired track “She Had Me At Heads Carolina” (written by the committee of Ashley Gorley, Jesse Frasure, Thomas Rhett, Mark D. Sanders and Tim Nichols) highlights what evolved in Swindell’s life after surviving wise and fearless at an age heartbreaking.
Love power ballad “Never Say Never” dates back to 2018 in Swindell’s catalog. He was frustrated that it took three years to record what he originally wrote as a male/female duo – the concept was something of a “to do list” item for his career.
He finally describes working on the song with Wilson, now an award-winning Country Music Academy and iHeartRadio star, as teaming up with “an awesome singer with an amazing personality, who’s one hell of a songwriter. “. He’s glad he waited patiently for Wilson because he “can’t imagine anyone else singing the song [with him].”
“She Had Me At Heads Carolina” also spotlights her extraordinary new gift of patience. It was the last song recorded for the album and because the single was so new in its construction, it forced the label to extend Swindell’s deadline to return his material.
He describes working on the track which essentially samples Jo Dee Messina’s 1996 country hit “Heads Carolina, Tails California” as “the most unique songwriting and production process of his career”. While touring in 2021 and writing session with Thomas Rhett and his frequent collaborators Ashley Gorley and Jesse Frasure, they came across a song concept that blended their shared love for 90s country music with the idea to also twist a typical story of a girls night out on the town at a karaoke bar. Having the finale co-signed by the song’s original writers, Mark D. Sanders and Tim Nichols, was the proverbial icing on the cake.
“I’ve never been under so much pressure to finish a song. However, every time we played [“She Had Me At Heads Carolina”] live so far, people know that sounds familiar. Yet it’s also different and eye-catching,” he adds, emphasizing its inherent appeal.
However, more than anything else, the track “Every Beer” does the best job of encapsulating the calm, empathy and clarity that will define Swindell’s career going forward. The story of his writing is heartbreaking.
Instead of being the title of a loud host, “Swindell, HARDY and Jordan Schmidt wrote every beer” on January 27, 2020, a day after the tragic deaths of basketball icon Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
“[That tragedy] really pissed me off. Before we started writing that day, (co-writers) HARDY, Jordan (Schmidt) and I started talking about the life lessons we had learned over the years, and the refrain “every beer could be the last”, [emerged]”, Swindell says of the songwriting process. “It’s one of those songs that is about everything – my life, the pandemic, the loss of people you love and how to cherish every moment you have with the people who matter. I hope this message will resonate with some people.”
“The path [“Stereotype”] could already have a potential No. 1 single is exciting and makes this release truly special,” says Swindell. The extraordinary power of his extensive and eye-opening album-making process is also not lost on him:
“This album took four years to complete and is the first step into the next chapter of my career. A lot of bad things – mixed with good – have happened to me during this time, and it has given me a new, different perspective on These songs are powerful, and I can’t wait to see what they can do.
‘HUMBLE QUEST’:Maren Morris Is Punished, But Not Silenced On ‘Humble Quest’
CMT MUSIC AWARDS 2022:When it’s happening, how to watch, who’s playing and more