Cole Swindell Defends Up-Tempo Country Music

Cole Swindell defended his up-tempo songs. He's just not that interested in performing sets of only sad ballads.

"Up-tempo songs ain't for everybody," the 34-year-old Swindell told Taste of Country last week. "Some people just want to hear sad stuff all the time and that's just not me. I like a little bit of both of it, and I think there's a balance on this third album."

The "You Should Be Here" singer is working on his third studio album, and released his fourth Down Home Sessions EP on Nov. 24. The EP included recordings of five songs he wrote that became hits for other artists, including "Get Me Some of That" for Thomas Rhett and "Outta My Head" for Craig Campbell.

Swindell has faced share of criticism on social media, and he told Taste of Country that some of that still stings.

"It's not fun to read, but when you go out there and play a show with Dierks (Bentley) and sing 'Flatliner' and see people blowing up, it's like ... I wish someone would just come see it," Swindell said. "If they don't get it after watching that — I didn't write that because it was a 'You Should Be Here' song, I wrote it because I could play it live and it's fun."

Swindell started his career as a songwriter, but he notched his own hit with "Chillin' It" in 2013. Since then, he's had a string of hits and, outside of the ballad "You Should Be Here," many of them haven't been loved by critics. In July, Rolling Stone wrote "'Flatliner' Should Have Died on the Table."

In an April interview with Songwriter Universe, Swindell said he agreed with critics who said the album You Should Be Here showed his improving songwriting skills. He said he's been influenced by the best country music songwriters in Nashville.

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"Every little word is important," Swindell said. "When you get a chance to be around the best writers in town a little more, you start writing more, and that hopefully makes you a better songwriter."

Swindell's next album is expected to be released sometime next year.