“Better Than You Left Me”
Written by Mickey Guyton, Jennifer Hanson, and Jenn Schott
This is pretty much how a country ballad is supposed to sound, as far as I’m concerned. Nothing says heartache like a steel guitar, and if you’re going to sing with vulnerability, it’ll do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. All you need to do is show up with a decent lyric, not let the production get in the way, sing the song well, and you’re done.
Mickey Guyton gets some of the above right, just not quite all the way in any way. The production stays out of the way, as it should. The lyric is your standard issue, stronger than before song. It gets the tone right but doesn’t have enough specific details or standout lines that linger in the memory. This theme has been done so many times before that you really need to do it very well for it to be memorable.
The lyric doesn’t live up to that need, and the vocal performance isn’t strong enough to carry it over the finish line. Guyton is a competent singer, but there’s nothing distinctive about her performance that makes the voice any more memorable than the lyric. Sometimes is takes a while for an artist to capture what makes their singing special on record. (Just go back and listen to Reba McEntire’s early work if you’re doubting that statement.)
If anything, “Better Than You Left Me” stands out from the pack because nobody’s doing these kind of records anymore. Back when they were, even a great record that met all of the above criteria – something like “Drive Time” by Lisa Stewart or “That’s Me” by Martina McBride – could still fail to find an audience. I’m all for this sound coming back. I just wish it was with a better record.
Wow I was expecting an A or the very least a B agree to disagree. The lyrics don’t always have to be strong. Mickey has a heck of a voice the production I found to be solid. This song for me would’ve been an A. Beautifully sung and the lyrics while not strong aren’t bad. This song in my opinion is a masterpiece to me. Well this song at the very least should chart well.
Like I said agree to disagree.
…, a little less trying real hard in her delivery would not have done any harm to this tune. I particularly enjoy the natural “warmth” in her vocals. Miss Guyton is talented. I could not argue with the rating of this song, though.
Can’t argue with this review. The song is decent but a masterpiece? No! But maybe it will do well on the charts. It’s currently #38 on the Kix Brooks American Country Countdown. (media base). I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that sun daze is #1.
My thoughts exactly. It’s one of those unfortunate songs that focuses too hard on sounding “country” and not enough on simply being a good song.
I would not turn the station if this song came on, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to seek it out either. It’s pleasant, but not especially memorable.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who isn’t bowled over by Guyton’s allegedly great voice. Sure, she’s a far better singer than Cassadee Pope, Jana Kramer, Cam, Keslea Ballerini, and the lot of other interchangeable women who have struggled to gain traction, but I’m really just not that impressed. Her tone gets especially nasal when she projects much volume.
The song is professional-grade filler: Nothing objectionable, but nothing great. I do like the 90s-inspired production choices, though.
“Drive Time” is my pick for country music’s all-time campiest music video. Everything about it– especially Stewart’s breakdown at the end– is pure LifeTime. I did like her “Under the Light of the Texaco” single, though.
I enjoy this one. It may not be groundbreaking, but it’s definitley a breath of fresh air compared to bro-country. I love the waltz tempo too.
I hope Mickey catches on as a country music artist – I think she has a lot of potential.
I’m actually liking this one and I’d certainly welcome hearing it at my radio station. She sounds a lot like Rebecca Lynn Howard in spots as well.