As both a songwriter and singer, Cole Swindell played no small part in popularizing the party-hearty sound of bro-country in the early 2000s, but there comes a time when every man must slow his roll. For Swindell, that time is his third album, All of It. Deliberately heavy on ballads, All of It still has the obligatory songs about drinking, but now Swindell slides "show me what that rockin' body looks like in the firelight" into the slow-burning title track: he's no longer wanting to see that girl tear it up in the back of his truck, he's looking for an intimate night at home, maybe even more than one. Swindell's self-conscious maturity is admirable even if it winds up turning All of It into something of a snooze. Never the liveliest singer -- he performs as if he were a writer -- Swindell sinks into the well-manicured arrangements, sounding as assured crooning a bittersweet ballad ("Dad's Old Number") as he does piecing together the wreckage from a night of boozing ("Sounded Good Last Night"). While Michael Carter's production contains elements of the R&B inflections of late-2010s country -- it's evident primarily in the understated electronic rhythms peppered through the record -- Swindell's heart belongs to the sounds of the first half of the decade. This retro bent, combined with the concentration on slow tunes, means All of It winds up agreeably sleepy, the kind of record that dissipates as soon as it's finished playing.
All of It Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine