Better Man (Little Big Town song)

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"Better Man"
Little Big Town - Better Man.png
Single by Little Big Town
from the album The Breaker
Released October 20, 2016 (2016-10-20)
Format
Genre Country
Length 4:21
Label Capitol Nashville
Songwriter(s) Taylor Swift
Producer(s) Jay Joyce[1]
Little Big Town singles chronology
"One of Those Days"
(2016)
"Better Man"
(2016)
"Happy People"
(2017)

"One of Those Days"
(2016)
"Better Man"
(2016)
"Happy People"
(2017)
Music video
"Better Man" on YouTube

"Better Man" is a song performed by American country group Little Big Town, released on October 20, 2016.[2] It served as the lead single from the group's eighth studio album, The Breaker, which was released on February 24, 2017.[3] The song was written by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift and produced by American 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.[4] 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.[5]

Background[edit]

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.[6]

"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-B2-B. Karen Fairchild's lead vocal spans from F3 to B4.[7]

Music video[edit]

An accompanying music video was directed by Becky Fluke and Reid Long and premiered on November 1, 2016.[8] Set in a rural household, the video depicts three generations of single parents whose partners ultimately leave them.[9] 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.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

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."[10] 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."[11]

Accolades[edit]

Year Association Category Result
2017 Billboard Music Awards[12] Top Country Song Nominated
CMT Music Awards[13] Group Video of the Year Won
Video of the Year Nominated
CMA Awards[4] Single of the Year Nominated
Song of the Year Won
Music Video of the Year Nominated
2018 Grammy Awards[14] Best Country Duo/Group Performance Won
Best Country Song Nominated
ACM Awards[15] Single Record of the Year Nominated

Commercial performance[edit]

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.[16][17] It sold 20,000 the following week, and rose to No. 20 in the chart.[17][18] In its third week it sold a further 47,000 copies and climbed further to No. 6.[19] 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. [20] The song was certified platinum in the United States by the RIAA on August 23, 2017.[21] The song has sold 772,000 copies in the United States as of February 2018.[22]

Other versions[edit]

On February 4, 2017, Taylor Swift performed it at Club Nomadic in Houston as part of the DirecTV Special, Super Saturday Night.

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.[23][24]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2016–17) Peak
position
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[25] 56
Canada Country (Billboard)[26] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[27] 34
US Country Airplay (Billboard)[28] 1
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[29] 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2017) Position
Canada Country (Billboard)[30] 8
US Country Airplay (Billboard)[31] 34
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[32] 10

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[33] Gold 5,000^
United States (RIAA)[21] Platinum 772,000[22]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hear Little Big Town's Melancholy New Song 'Better Man'". rollingstone.com. Retrieved July 5, 2017. 
  2. ^ Black, Lauren Jo (November 1, 2016). "Little Big Town Reveals Taylor Swift as 'Better Man' Songwriter". Sounds Like Nashville. SpinMedia. Retrieved November 2, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Better Man - Little Big Town | Release Info". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved November 2, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Weatherby, Taylor (September 4, 2017). "Keith Urban & Miranda Lambert Lead 2017 CMA Awards Nominees, Taylor Swift Earns First Nomination in Three Years". Retrieved September 4, 2017. 
  5. ^ Staff, Los Angeles Times (November 29, 2017). "Grammys 2018 Complete List of Nominees". LA Times. LA Times. Retrieved November 29, 2017. 
  6. ^ Vulpo, Mike (November 1, 2016). "Who Did Taylor Swift Write "Better Man" About? We Investigate the Lyrics for Little Big Town's New Single". E! Online. 
  7. ^ "'Better Man' sheet music". musicnotes.com. Retrieved February 18, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Little Big Town | Better Man | Music Video | MTV". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved February 5, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Wicks, Amanda (November 1, 2016). "Little Big Town Premiere 'Better Man' Music Video". Radio.com. CBS Corporation. Retrieved February 5, 2017. 
  10. ^ Coyne, Kevin John (October 27, 2016). "Single Review: Little Big Town, "Better Man"". Country Universe. Retrieved February 18, 2017. 
  11. ^ Dukes, Billy. "Little Big Town, 'Better Man' [Listen]". Taste of Country. Retrieved February 18, 2017. 
  12. ^ Stefano, Angela (May 21, 2017). "2017 Billboard Music Awards Country Winners List". The Boot. Retrieved September 4, 2017. 
  13. ^ Stefano, Angela (June 7, 2017). "2017 CMT Music Awards Winners List". The Boot. Retrieved September 4, 2017. 
  14. ^ USA Today Staff (January 28, 2018). "Grammy Awards 2018: The winners' list". USA Today. Retrieved January 28, 2018. 
  15. ^ Stefano, Angela (April 15, 2018). "2018 ACM Awards Winners List". The Boot. Retrieved April 16, 2018. 
  16. ^ "Hot Country Songs". Billboard. November 5, 2016. (Subscription required (help)). 
  17. ^ a b Bjorke, Matt (November 1, 2016). "Top 30 Digital Singles Sales Report: November 1, 2016". Roughstock. 
  18. ^ "Hot Country Songs". Billboard. November 12, 2016. 
  19. ^ Bjorke, Matt (November 7, 2016). "Top 30 Digital Country Singles Chart: November 7, 2016". Roughstock. 
  20. ^ Asker, Jim (January 31, 2016). "Little Big Town Leads Hot Country Songs With Taylor Swift-Written 'Better Man'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 5, 2017. 
  21. ^ a b "American single certifications – Little Big Town – Better Man". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved September 22, 2017.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  22. ^ a b Bjorke, Matt (February 5, 2017). "TOP 30 Digital Country Singles Sales Chart: February 5, 2017". Roughstock. Retrieved February 8, 2017. 
  23. ^ Aniftos, Rania (February 15, 2017). "Chase Bryant Shares Introspective Cover of Little Big Town's Taylor Swift-Penned 'Better Man': Listen". Billboard. Retrieved February 18, 2017. 
  24. ^ Freeman, Jon (February 15, 2017). "See Chase Bryant's Solemn Cover of Little Big Town's 'Better Man'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 18, 2017. 
  25. ^ "Little Big Town Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  26. ^ "Little Big Town Chart History (Canada Country)". Billboard. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  27. ^ "Little Big Town Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  28. ^ "Little Big Town Chart History (Country Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  29. ^ "Little Big Town Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  30. ^ "Billboard Canada Year-End Country Airplay of 2017". Billboard. Retrieved December 31, 2017. 
  31. ^ "Country Airplay Songs – Year-End 2017". Billboard. Retrieved December 18, 2017. 
  32. ^ "Hot Country Songs – Year-End 2017". Billboard. Retrieved December 18, 2017. 
  33. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Little Big Town – Better Man". Music Canada. Retrieved November 14, 2017.