Cole Swindell delivers kitschy country on ‘You Should Be Here’

Cole Swindell has rocketed to the top of the country charts thanks to a smooth, good-guy charm and a knack for bland, amiable everyman tunes. In a post-Florida Georgia Line world, that’s enough to make him a star. His second crowd-pleasing album barely extends beyond territory he staked out on his successful bro-and-a-brew debut. He already has a major hit with the well-intentioned but vague title track, a sentimental ode to his late father overloaded with clichés. Like other heart-tugging ballads “Stars” and “Remember Boys,” it’s kitsch country devoid of observed detail and emotional truth. The slick production throughout lacks definition — guitars hardly bite — and the formulaic lyrics scream calculation (especially “Up” and “Middle of a Memory”). The best song, “Flatliner,” with Dierks Bentley, actually kicks up dust with a dueling guitar dynamic. Unfortunately, the rest of the tracks translate to country equivalents of a McDonald’s shake: They’re mostly artificial, but go down easy.


ESSENTIAL “Flatliner”

Cole Swindell performs at the Xfinity Center on Aug. 5.

Ken Capobianco can be reached at