Surprise! Taylor Swift Wrote Little Big Town’s ‘Better Man’
Little Big Town were full of surprises on Tuesday morning (Nov. 1): In addition to announcing an upcoming residency at the Ryman Auditorium, the group also revealed that their newest single, “Better Man,” was written by country-turned-pop superstar Taylor Swift.
“She sent us this song, and it was one that was really special to her,” Karen Fairchild shared with The Boot and other reporters at a press conference. “She thought of us because of the harmonies. She’s never pitched a song to anyone before, and the moment that we heard it, we were like, ‘Man, that is a song that we’re going to cut.’”
Adds Phillip Sweet, “Immediately, we all had the same reaction. We’ve always, through our whole career, every time we’ve had that reaction to a song, we knew it felt right … And we’ve known Taylor since she was in high school. She’s a dear friend of ours.”
LBT elected to not reveal who the writer of “Better Man” was when they released the single on Oct. 20, saying only that it was written by a young woman in Nashville. But with the song already in the Top 20 and climbing, the foursome felt that it was time to reveal the writer’s true identity.
“We played it for her when we finished it, and she was really, really excited,” Fairchild says. “We said, ‘We’re not just going to blab this that you wrote this immediately,’ and she said, ‘That’s the greatest honor as a songwriter that you could give me, is that you don’t want anybody to know that I wrote this.'”
The lyrics of “Better Man” include lines such as, “Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I can feel you again / But I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man / And I know why we had to say goodbye like the back of my hand / And I just miss you, and I wish you were a better man.” When they first heard the song, Little Big Town realized that it could resonate with a lot of different people, for numerous different reasons.
“Everybody has a better man. It might have been a lover, but it might have been a parent that disappointed you, or a friend,” Fairchild explains. “I think the beauty of that storytelling is that we can all relate to being disappointed somewhat and still loving them but saying, ‘Enough is enough. This would have been amazing if you would have gotten your act together.’ And that’s kind of a fun song to sing.”
“Better Man” is the debut single from LBT’s upcoming new album, The Breaker, which will be released on Feb. 24, to coincide with the opening night of their Ryman residency.
“We love to make records,” Schlapman says. “We love to evolve as we go … We’ve been working all year. We’ve had a crazy busy year, but we’ve been in the studio a lot and writing a lot, and we’re very excited to get it out to everyone.”
The Breaker follows the country quartet’s pop-infused album Wanderlust, released in June. Although the project wasn’t a country record, it gave Little Big Town even more inspiration and fearlessness as they worked on their new set of tunes.
“Every record has a life of its own, a personality of its own. And this one really has its own personality, too,” Sweet explains. “I think we went in this time with even more confidence and an idea to push ourselves even further. I feel like the music has a feeling of, it feels good. There’s a lot of feel-good stuff on this record.”
The title track of the album, written by TJ Osborne and Connie Harrington, is also an important song on the project, and helped set the tone.
“The record is called The Breaker for multiple reasons,” Fairchild says. “I think there’s lots of ways that you get broken. I think there are some times you are the breaker. Sometimes it’s like looking ahead at the future and what’s on the horizon, breaking. Just so many ways it ties into the record, and for us as a band.”
Watch the “Better Man” Music Video