Better Man (Little Big Town Song)
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Better Man Little Big Town Song

"Better Man"
Little Big Town - Better Man.png
Single by Little Big Town
from the album The Breaker
ReleasedOctober 20, 2016 (2016-10-20)
Format
GenreCountry
Length4:21
LabelCapitol Nashville
Taylor Swift
Jay Joyce[1]
Little Big Town singles chronology
"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 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.[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

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][7]

"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.[8]

Music video

An accompanying music video was directed by Becky Fluke and Reid Long and premiered on November 1, 2016.[9] Set in a rural household, the video depicts three generations of single parents whose partners ultimately leave them.[10] 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.[10]

Critical reception

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."[11]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."[12]

Accolades

Year Association Category Result
2017 Billboard Music Awards[13] Top Country Song Nominated
CMT Music Awards[14] 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[15] Best Country Duo/Group Performance Won
Best Country Song Nominated
ACM Awards[16] Single Record of the Year Nominated

Commercial performance

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

Other versions

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.[24][25]

Credits and personnel

Credits adapted from Tidal.[26]

  • 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 certifications

Charts

Chart (2016-17) Peak
position
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[27] 56
Canada Country (Billboard)[28] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[29] 34
US Country Airplay (Billboard)[30] 1
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[31] 1

Year-end charts

Chart (2017) Position
Canada Country (Billboard)[32] 8
US Country Airplay (Billboard)[33] 34
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[34] 10

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[35] Gold 5,000^
United States (RIAA)[22] Platinum 772,000[23]

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

References

  1. ^ "Hear Little Big Town's Melancholy New Song 'Better Man'". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ Black, Lauren Jo (November 1, 2016). "Little Big Town Reveals Taylor Swift as 'Better Man' Songwriter". Sounds Like Nashville. SpinMedia. Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ "Better Man - Little Big Town | Release Info". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 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 2017.
  5. ^ Staff, Los Angeles Times (November 29, 2017). "Grammys 2018 Complete List of Nominees". LA Times. LA Times. Retrieved 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. ^ "Why didn't Taylor Swift keep 'Better Man' for herself? Little Big Town says, 'We didn't ask'". SiriusXM: Hear & Now. November 15, 2016.
  8. ^ "'Better Man' sheet music". musicnotes.com. Retrieved 2017.
  9. ^ "Little Big Town | Better Man | Music Video | MTV". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ a b Wicks, Amanda (November 1, 2016). "Little Big Town Premiere 'Better Man' Music Video". Radio.com. CBS Corporation. Archived from the original on April 19, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  11. ^ Coyne, Kevin John (October 27, 2016). "Single Review: Little Big Town, "Better Man"". Country Universe. Retrieved 2017.
  12. ^ Dukes, Billy. "Little Big Town, 'Better Man' [Listen]". Taste of Country. Retrieved 2017.
  13. ^ Stefano, Angela (May 21, 2017). "2017 Billboard Music Awards Country Winners List". The Boot. Retrieved 2017.
  14. ^ Stefano, Angela (June 7, 2017). "2017 CMT Music Awards Winners List". The Boot. Retrieved 2017.
  15. ^ USA Today Staff (January 28, 2018). "Grammy Awards 2018: The winners' list". USA Today. Retrieved 2018.
  16. ^ Stefano, Angela (April 15, 2018). "2018 ACM Awards Winners List". The Boot. Retrieved 2018.
  17. ^ "Hot Country Songs". Billboard. November 5, 2016.
  18. ^ a b Bjorke, Matt (November 1, 2016). "Top 30 Digital Singles Sales Report: November 1, 2016". Roughstock.
  19. ^ "Hot Country Songs". Billboard. November 12, 2016.
  20. ^ Bjorke, Matt (November 7, 2016). "Top 30 Digital Country Singles Chart: November 7, 2016". Roughstock.
  21. ^ Asker, Jim (January 31, 2016). "Little Big Town Leads Hot Country Songs With Taylor Swift-Written 'Better Man'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2017.
  22. ^ a b "American single certifications - Little Big Town - Better Man". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2017.If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.
  23. ^ a b Bjorke, Matt (February 5, 2017). "TOP 30 Digital Country Singles Sales Chart: February 5, 2017". Roughstock. Retrieved 2017.
  24. ^ Aniftos, Rania (February 15, 2017). "Chase Bryant Shares Introspective Cover of Little Big Town's Taylor Swift-Penned 'Better Man': Listen". Billboard. Retrieved 2017.
  25. ^ Freeman, Jon (February 15, 2017). "See Chase Bryant's Solemn Cover of Little Big Town's 'Better Man'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017.
  26. ^ "Try the TIDAL Web Player". listen.tidal.com. Retrieved 2019.
  27. ^ "Little Big Town Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  28. ^ "Little Big Town Chart History (Canada Country)". Billboard. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  29. ^ "Little Big Town Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  30. ^ "Little Big Town Chart History (Country Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  31. ^ "Little Big Town Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  32. ^ "Billboard Canada Year-End Country Airplay of 2017". Billboard. Retrieved 2017.
  33. ^ "Country Airplay Songs - Year-End 2017". Billboard. Retrieved 2017.
  34. ^ "Hot Country Songs - Year-End 2017". Billboard. Retrieved 2017.
  35. ^ "Canadian single certifications - Little Big Town - Better Man". Music Canada. Retrieved 2017.

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