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Story Behind the Song: Miranda Lambert, ‘Only Prettier’

Natalie Hemby and Miranda Lambert co-wrote “Only Prettier” together prior to Lambert recording 2009’s Revolution. The country star then cut the song for her third studio album and released it as the project’s fourth single, in July of 2010. “Only Prettier” peaked just outside the Top 10 on the country charts (No. 12), giving Lambert her seventh Top 20 hit. Below, Hemby tells The Boot about writing the backhanded compliment of a track.

We wrote this song the same day we wrote “White Liar;” we wrote four songs that day. Miranda’s time is crazy and precious, so I knew when she came over that I was going to bombard her … “What about this idea? What about this idea?” [Laughs]

I gave her the first two lines: “Well, I’ve been saved by the grace of Southern charm / I’ve got a mouth like a sailor, and yours is more like a Hallmark card.” I’ll never forget the look on her face: Her eyes lit up like, “Oh my God … I love that!” It was priceless seeing her face.

Sometimes when you write these tongue-in-cheek songs, they are just inches away from one misstep to turning into a hokey song. We wanted it to be clever. Miranda wrote some of the clever lines like “Well, I’ll keep drinkin’, and you’ll keep gettin’ skinnier.” That was all Miranda!

Don’t we all have that snippy side? … “Bless your heart, you have such an ugly baby!” [Laughs] I think it’s a Southern belle thing! The song is kind of a smack in the face, but you don’t realize it. It’s like, wait … did you just insult me? [Laughs] What girl hasn’t been through that kind of situation where you have to get along with somebody you don’t like?

My husband [Mike Wrucke] is one of the producers on [the Revolution] album. It was a day or two later when he called and said he thinks they might want to cut it. Basically the whole point to cut it was to be obnoxious with the production; if you make it slow and pretty, it sounds like a bow. Miranda called me after they finished it, and she was like, “Oh my gosh! We just cut the crap out of this song!” She was all fired up.

“Only Prettier” is one of my favorite songs on the record. I’m so glad that they made it a single. I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out. I knew the girls would like it, but to see how everyone has embraced it is just amazing.

This story was originally written by Alanna Conaway, and revised by Angela Stefano.

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