Cole Swindell is not-so-quietly on his way to country superstar status. Only two albums in, he has seven straight No. 1 radio singles and his streaming numbers are off the charts. He's also preparing his first headlining tour, taking Chris Janson and Lauren Alaina out on the road in 2018.
Depending on your viewpoint, Swindell's rapid rise is either a great success story or a testament to the undying veracity of the bro country movement. Many of his crowd-pleasing hits felt a little paint-by-numbers, or "indistinguishable," as some put it.
But for the first single from his upcoming third album, Swindell delivered a heartfelt, beautifully crafted ballad. The song, "Break Up In The End," is about as mature as Swindell has ever sounded.
Jon Nite, Chase McGill and Jessie Jo Dillon wrote the song. "I am honored that my songwriting friends trust me with such an amazing message," Swindell says.
And clearly fans are resonating. In only five days, "Break Up In The End" accrued nearly one million streams on Spotify, enough to land him in Spotify's United States Viral 50. That's a big deal for a country act (which makes it particularly cool that Kacey Musgraves has not one, but two songs on that chart).
Swindell says the decision to keep the track sonically sparse was intentional. "We don't need bells and whistles on this," he says. "This all about the lyric. It's more stripped down than anything we've done."
Asked about feeling pressure to land an eighth consecutive No. 1 single, Swindell gets refreshingly candid. "I think me picking this song is saying this message was more important to me than going with a song that is so catchy it's undeniable," he says. "I've been given a voice. I can say what I want now, whether it be fun, or like this one. I'm just grateful I get to release songs that mean stuff to people."
"Don't get me wrong, I hope it goes No. 1," Swindell adds. "But I'm at a point now where sometimes the message might be more important than the chart position."