Little Big Town scored one of the biggest hits of their career with "Better Man," culminating in a CMA Awards nomination for Song of the Year. It's an award they've never won before, and there are several reasons they deserve it in 2017.
"Better Man" was the lead single from LBT's current album, The Breaker, and it set the album off to a strong start by reaching No. 1. The mid-tempo ballad features a universal message wrapped up in a note-perfect performance from Little Big Town, topped off with deft production that allows all of the best elements to shine through.
The award actually goes to the songwriter, though LBT's performance makes the song so much of what it is. Little Big Town were coy about the song when they first released it, teasing the press by simply saying the songwriter was a female. Who that songwriter turned out to be is certainly one of the most fascinating components to the story behind "Better Man," but it's not the only reason the song deserves to win Song of the Year in the 2017 CMA Awards.
Read on to consider our arguments, and let us know if you agree or disagree in the comments section below.
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The chorus is the heart of a song, and the chorus of "Better Man" is simple, wasting not one syllable or note in painting a portrait of love tinged with regret: "Sometimes in the middle of the night I can feel you again / And I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man / Oh I know why we had to say goodbye like the back of my hand / But I just miss you and I just wish you were a better man," Little Big Town sing.
A Timeless Melody
The melody to "Better Man" is so accessible that it hooks the listener instantly, and it accomplishes the difficult task of seeming familiar while not actually resembling the melody to another song. It's also the kind of clean, concise melody that compels people to sing along, which is one of the elements of a world-class hit.
Little Big Town are the best vocal group in contemporary country music, but some songs let them shows that off better than others. "Better Man" is a superb example of a song that's perfect for their talents; Karen Fairchild delivers a poignant and powerful lead vocal, but it's the group harmonies in the choruses that lift the song to the next level of emotional resonance.
It Marks Taylor Swift's Return to Country
"Better Man" is a great song, and Little Big Town have created an excellent recording of an excellent performance. It's deserving in and of itself, regardless of who wrote it. But the fact that Taylor Swift turned out to be the mystery songwriter behind the smash is just too good a backstory to pass up. "Better Man" is her first country hit since she left the genre for pop in 2014. What a cool thing if she ended up winning Song of the Year for it.
The Numbers Support the Acclaim
Certain types of songs tend to garner critical acclaim and awards nominations, but that doesn't mean ordinary people are embracing them. Not so with "Better Man." The song reached No. 1 on both Billboard's Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts and has been certified platinum after selling a million copies, making it one of the biggest hits of the year as well as Little Big Town's career.