With five No. 1 hits so far on the Billboard US Country Airplay chart and new music in the works for Warner Music Nashville, Cole Swindell belongs in the same discussion as Luke Combs, Carly Pearce, Ashley McBryde and others honoring thy '90s country music as a songwriter and storyteller.
As we patiently await what's next from Swindell, let's revisit an impressive three-single run that captures the quality and variety of his music: 2018's "Break Up in the End" and "Love You Too Late" and 2020's "Single Saturday Night."
"Break Up in the End"
His finest work to date, "Break Up in the End" got its flowers in country music circles (a 2019 ACM nomination for Song of the Year) and beyond (a 2019 Grammy nomination for Best Country Song). Peers recognize the song's quality, as well. When Wide Open Country asked Ryan Hurd which song he wishes he'd written first, he sang the praises of "Break Up in the End," a Chase McGill, Jessie Jo Dillon and Jon Nite co-write.
Upon first hearing its demo, Swindell knew "Break Up in the End" could be something special for himself and producer Michael Carter.
"I know it sounds cliché, but it stopped me in my tracks," Swindell told Wide Open Country. "I remember I was in my truck, just listening to songs that had been sent to me to listen to. It was just an acoustic demo with Jon Nite singing it. It grabbed me from the first verse of it. I've lived that song. I've lived the second verse, too, and the chorus. By the end of it, I'm like, 'Man, I've got to hear this again.' The first time hearing it was special, but then after listening to it again, I just knew I hadn't had a song like that. I knew we were going to be able to cut a stripped-down version of something we hadn't had a chance to do yet at that time."
Just like Hurd's "Every Other Memory," "Break Up in the End" reminds listeners of real-life experiences with a partner or love interest. It might not try to sound like something from the '90s, but Swindell's vivid telling of a love story gone wrong suits your listening needs anytime you fall down a rabbit hole of older Tim McGraw singles.
"Love You Too Late"
Swindell literally put some drive in his country with the official music video for "Love You Too Late," a breakup song he co-wrote with frequent collaborators Michael Carter and Brandon Kinney. The No. 1 country airplay hit's visual supplement co-stars stunt driver Kachina Dechert.
"You can tell she's just a high adrenaline person," Swindell told CMT of the video, filmed in Nashville and directed by Sam Siske.
"His music made me want to write songs," Swindell said of Bentley. "He was one of the few guys when I was in college singing cover songs that made me realize that I needed to make other people feel that way and write my own stuff."
"Single Saturday Night"
Not everyone with a soft spot for "Break Up in the End" will eat up a carefree, pop-accessible tune that references White Claw, and that's okay. It suits Swindell's voice as comfortably as a brand-new Georgia Southern ballcap fits his noggin, and it's the sort of party-starting tune that'll spark coast-to-coast singalongs once major country music tours return.
Hardy wrote "Single Saturday Night" with Ashley Gorley and Mark Holman.