Review – Little Big Town’s “Better Man”


When it comes to Little Big Town, I’ve always had mixed feelings about them. Earlier songs from the group such as “Little White Church” and “Boondocks” impressed me, but then they follow it up with songs that annoy me like “Pontoon.” Their last album’s lead single “Day Drinking” was probably one of the worst singles they’ve put out, as I harshly criticized it in my review. But then they followed this up with the biggest hit of their career and one of the most talked about country singles of 2015, “Girl Crush.” After being wrongly perceived as a song about a lesbian relationship and getting rebuked initially by country radio, it went on to be a smash hit and racked up numerous awards. With the huge success of this single, it basically defined the Pain Killer era as good, despite the rest of the album being generic 80s rock and featuring producer Jay Joyce at his worst. So now after a bizarre side project with pop artist Pharrell Williams earlier in 2016, Little Big Town returns with a new lead single for their next album, titled “Better Man.”

I have to say coming in I didn’t have high expectations for this song and I only had slight hope they would return to their earlier sound. Fortunately they actually do this because “Better Man” is much closer to their earlier work than their latest music and I couldn’t be happier about this development. Right away we hear a piano and some percussion to open the song and Karen Fairchild’s smokey vocals, who sings lead on the single. The song is about a heartbroken woman who misses the man she used to be in love with, hoping he could be a better man again. She knows it was for the best they split, but she can’t let go of the good memories they had and she’s heartbroken over the loss of something so close to her heart. It’s really solid songwriting with some actual depth and story behind the heartbreak. The harmonizing by the group in the chorus gives the song a good punch and makes it memorable for the listener. The production could have been dialed back a bit and can be a little too loud at times for some listeners, but the blending of pop sounds and country sounds really works well.

I wouldn’t say this is the best single of Little Big Town’s career, but “Better Man” is definitely near the top for them. They did with this song what I’ve been saying for a while: get back to a more organic sound and put focus back on the harmonies. This song accomplishes both and they were able to even give it enough polish that radio should give it some kind of chance. The songwriting is notably improved and shouldn’t be overlooked either. I hope this is an indication of what’s come on their new album because this is the Little Big Town country music needs.

Grade: 7/10

Recommend? – Yes

Written by Taylor Swift

11 thoughts on “Review – Little Big Town’s “Better Man”

  1. Diego October 20, 2016 / 7:02 pm

    I’m so glad that this new single is good.

    I don’t like “Pain Killer” very much nevertheless I’m a huge “Little Big Town” fan: I’ve seen them live three times and every time they were incredible!


  2. Kevin Davis October 20, 2016 / 7:14 pm

    “…the blending of pop sounds and country sounds really works well.” Yes, I have to agree. I will always prefer more of a traditional sound, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Karen, not surprisingly, carries this song. She’s phenomenal. The lyrics are solid. There’s a lot to like about this song.

    As an aside, I actually thought “Pontoon” was unobjectionable, but I understand why someone would disagree with me. It’s a fun, harmless venture and brings a smile. We need that once in a while. Unfortunately, the bro-country idiocy has spoiled the genre in this regard.


  3. Amanda October 20, 2016 / 10:23 pm

    This is pretty good. I’ve always enjoyed LBT’s killer harmonies.


  4. OlaR October 21, 2016 / 5:52 am

    Right time to switch back to the “Nashville-ABBA” sound & harmonies.


  5. Roland Akor October 25, 2016 / 8:39 pm

    This is one solid song, well written, Though it is more pop/adult contemporary than country, it`s going to go places.Reminds me of FGL HOLY.


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