Only Prettier

Album: Revolution (2009)
Charted: 61
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This is a track from American country music singer Miranda Lambert's third studio album, Revolution.
  • This driving, country-punk number was written by Lambert together with Natalie Hemby. In publicity materials, Lambert said: "It's antagonistic, in a fun way. It sounds just like something I would say and probably have said. This is the first time I ever wrote with Natalie Hemby, who is (co-producer) Mike Wrucke's wife. I sat down with her at her house in Nashville, and we wrote four songs in two hours—just blazing through—and literally cut them the next day. 'Only Prettier' was her idea, and I loved the attitude behind it. It kind of fools you, because it's got this really country, laid-back intro, but then it's balls to the wall the rest of the way."
  • The song is described in publicity materials as a "tongue-in-cheek commentary about mean-girl cattiness."
  • The song's music video was directed by Trey Fanjoy and filmed just outside of Nashville at Joelton Middle School. It features Lambert's fellow country music musicians Kellie Pickler, Laura Bell Bundy and Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott playing two rival cliques at a 1950s high school sock hop who put aside their difference at the end of the party.
  • Lambert discussed the inspiration for this song: "Natalie Hemby and I wrote this song together, and she had this verse. She said, 'I have this idea I want to play for you. 'I've been saved by the grace of southern charm. I got a mouth like a sailor and you're more like a Hallmark card.' And right there she had me. Just the fact that she had the guts to say what we all wanted to say to those mean skinny girls in high school."
  • Natalie Hemby and Miranda are also the writing duo behind Lambert's first #1 song, "White Liar." Hemby told The Boot the story behind the song: "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-and-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 is one of the producers on Miranda's 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."

Comments: 2

  • Mae Kateouras from Butler PaI always took the song to be about the battle of the sexes. "We're just like you, only prettier." If you hadn't told me it was about arguing with mean girls I wouldn't have thought of it that way. I still think her intention for the song (like most artists) are not as profound as those of us in the audience would perceive it once we find out the true meaning. It gets annoying that this song had such great potential, and well, it is about mean girl cattiness and not what it sounds and reads like without the video.
  • Roger from Philadelphia, PaEvery time I hear the refrain of "Only Prettier" (So let's shake hands and reach across those party lines, etc.), I imagine Sarah Palin singing it to Nancy Pelosi or vice versa.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Jay, Peaches, Spinderella and other Darrining Victims

Jay, Peaches, Spinderella and other Darrining VictimsSong Writing

Just like Darrin was replaced on Bewitched, groups have swapped out original members, hoping we wouldn't notice.

Dean Friedman - "Ariel"

Dean Friedman - "Ariel"They're Playing My Song

Dean's saga began with "Ariel," a song about falling in love with a Jewish girl from New Jersey.

Kiss

KissFact or Fiction

Kiss is the subject of many outlandish rumors - some of which happen to be true. See if you can spot the fakes.

Paul Williams

Paul WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

He's a singer and an actor, but as a songwriter Paul helped make Kermit a cultured frog, turned a bank commercial into a huge hit and made love both "exciting and new" and "soft as an easy chair."

Goodbye, Hello: Ten Farewell Tour Fake-Outs

Goodbye, Hello: Ten Farewell Tour Fake-OutsSong Writing

The 10 biggest "retirement tours" that didn't take.

Kim Thayil of Soundgarden

Kim Thayil of SoundgardenSongwriter Interviews

Their frontman (Chris Cornell) started out as their drummer, so Soundgarden takes a linear approach when it comes to songwriting. Kim explains how they do it.