Better Man (Little Big Town song)
"Better Man" is a song performed by American country group Little Big Town, released on October 20, 2016. It served as the lead single from the group's eighth studio album, The Breaker, which was released on February 24, 2017. The song was written by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift and produced by American record producer Jay Joyce. "Better Man" was first performed live at the 50th CMA Awards on November 2, 2016. The song won Song of the Year and was nominated for Single of the Year, and Music Video of the Year at the 2017 CMA Awards. The song won Best Country Duo/Group Performance for Little Big Town and was also nominated for Best Country Song for Swift, at the 60th annual Grammy Awards.
|Single by Little Big Town|
|from the album The Breaker|
|Released||October 20, 2016|
|Little Big Town singles chronology|
The song was written about the breakup of a relationship by Taylor Swift. According to group member Karen Fairchild, Swift thought of the group because of the harmonies, and sent the song to them. According to Swift, the song was originally intended for her fourth studio album Red (2012). An unnamed source from Us Weekly reported that she sent it to the group in July 2016.
"Better Man" has a play length of 4 minutes and 21 seconds. The song is in a slow tempo of 72 beats per minute, written with a 4/4 time signature. It is in the key of F major, with a chord pattern of F-C-B♭-B♭2-B♭. Karen Fairchild's lead vocal spans from F3 to B♭4.
An accompanying music video was directed by Becky Fluke and Reid Long and premiered on November 1, 2016. Set in a rural household, the video depicts three generations of single parents whose partners ultimately leave them. The cycle is presumably broken at the end, when Philip Sweet's character has a baby girl and makes an effort to be a better role model.
Kevin John Coyne of Country Universe rated the song "A", saying that "It’s a concept that is grounded in so much truth that I’m amazed I’ve never heard it approached this way before" and "The writers do a great job of capturing both why [the song's narrator] stayed so long and why she had to leave, and all of the conflicting feelings that go along with that." Taste of Country writer Billy Dukes also praised the song, saying that "This song isn’t as jarring as some of the quartet’s most recent hits. In fact, the mistreatment of women is only vaguely alluded to — there’s no one line that burns the hair off the back of your neck. Jay Joyce’s arrangement is soft but not stark. It’s among his more mainstream productions. Still, it’s clear Fairchild’s protagonist is reeling from a love that went very, very wrong."
|2017||Billboard Music Awards||Top Country Song||Nominated|
|CMT Music Awards||Group Video of the Year||Won|
|Video of the Year||Nominated|
|CMA Awards||Single of the Year||Nominated|
|Song of the Year||Won|
|Music Video of the Year||Nominated|
|2018||Grammy Awards||Best Country Duo/Group Performance||Won|
|Best Country Song||Nominated|
|ACM Awards||Single Record of the Year||Nominated|
The song sold 6,000 copies on its first day of release, enough to allow the song to enter the Hot Country Songs chart at No. 41. It sold 20,000 the following week, and rose to No. 20 in the chart. In its third week it sold a further 47,000 copies and climbed further to No. 6. On the Hot Country Songs chart dated February 11, 2017, "Better Man" reached number one, earning the group their third leader. It spent two weeks at No. 1 before being dethroned by "Body Like A Back Road" by Sam Hunt.  The song was certified platinum in the United States by the RIAA on August 23, 2017. The song has sold 772,000 copies in the United States as of February 2018.
Taylor Swift performed this song at Club Nomadic in Houston as part of the DirecTV Special, Super Saturday Night on February 4, 2017. She also performed it on March 31, 2018 at the Bluebird Café in Nashville, Tennessee, and on August 25, 2018 at her Reputation Stadium Tour stop at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.
On February 15, 2017, Chase Bryant recorded a cover version of the song, which changed the grammatical narrative from second person to first. Bryant's rendition was described favorably by both Billboard and Rolling Stone for the change in the song's perspective, as well as the harmonies provided by Runaway June.
Credits and personnelEdit
- Little Big Town – vocals
- Taylor Swift – songwriter
- Jay Joyce – producer, programmer, bass, drums, guitar, keyboards, percussion, mixer, studio personnel
- Jaxon Hargrove – assistant recording engineer, studio personnel
- Jimmy Mansfield – assistant recording engineer, studio personnel
- Jason Hall – engineer, studio personnel
- Richard Dodd – mastering engineer, studio personnel
Charts and certificationsEdit
|Chart (2016–17)||Peak |
|Canada (Canadian Hot 100)||56|
|Canada Country (Billboard)||1|
|US Billboard Hot 100||34|
|US Country Airplay (Billboard)||1|
|US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)||1|
|Canada Country (Billboard)||8|
|US Country Airplay (Billboard)||34|
|US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)||10|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Gold||40,000|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||772,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
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