Treat You Better

Album: Illuminate (2016)
Charted: 6 6
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Shawn Mendes is trying to get the attention of his crush on this pining love song.

    I can treat you better than he can
    And any girl like you deserves a gentleman
    Tell me why are we wasting time on all your wasted time when you should be with me instead?


    Shawn is insistent that he can love the girl better than her current boyfriend.
  • This song was co-written by Shawn Mendes, Scott Harris, and Teddy Geiger. Harris explained to Songwriter Universe the process of writing the tune. "I remember we wrote it in LA," he said. "Teddy had worked with Shawn before and Shawn was excited to get the three of us together. I've known Teddy for a while. My band actually opened up for him for six weeks one time. The vibe was immediately right. We all get along really well and it kind of came right out. It was actually a full-on reggae song until we switched the guitar part right before we recorded the demo."
  • Other songs about a guy who has a crush on someone else's girlfriend include "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield, "My Best Friend's Girl" by The Cars and "She Will Be Loved" by Maroon 5.
  • Shawn gave the first TV performance of the song at the iHeartRadio MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto, Canada on June 19, 2016.
  • Shawn has known Taylor Swift since she brought him on her 1989 tour as an opener. On his 18th birthday Taylor serenaded him with this song on Snapchat.
  • Shawn Mendes threw new light on this song when he said in his 2020 Netflix documentary Wonder that his back catalogue of songs are all about Camila Cabello. The pair got to know each other in the summer of 2014, when they were opening acts on Austin Mahone's tour. They first recorded together the following year on the single "I Know What You Did Last Summer," when Cabello was dating Mahone. That romance didn't end well as shortly after Mahone hooked up with Becky G, he claimed theirs was his first real relationship. On this song, is Mendes letting Cabello know that he would treat her better than Mahone?

Comments: 2

  • Bridget from CoI realized in the end, I didn't actually want to hang out with him.
  • Bridget from CoIt sounds like Mendes means well in this song. He's trying to get his crush out of a bad relationship. I can relate to the lyrics as well, seeing as I've had friends hanging out with bad people. It's been very stressful. Luckily, that's not happening anymore with me. But I do remember one time I tried to get my crush to hang out with me, even though he was already with someone. Awkward!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Joan Armatrading

Joan ArmatradingSongwriter Interviews

The revered singer-songwriter talks inspiration and explains why she put a mahout in "Drop the Pilot."

Kerry Livgren of Kansas

Kerry Livgren of KansasSongwriter Interviews

In this talk from the '80s, the Kansas frontman talks turning to God and writing "Dust In The Wind."

Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees

Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn YankeesSongwriter Interviews

Revisit the awesome glory of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees: cheesily-acted videos, catchy guitar licks, long hair, and lyrics that are just plain relatable.

Part of Their World: The Stories and Songs of 13 Disney Princesses

Part of Their World: The Stories and Songs of 13 Disney PrincessesSong Writing

From "Some Day My Prince Will Come" to "Let It Go" - how Disney princess songs (and the women who sing them) have evolved.

Wang Chung Pick The Top Songs Of The '80s

Wang Chung Pick The Top Songs Of The '80sSongwriter Interviews

'80s music ambassadors Wang Chung pick their top tracks of the decade, explaining what makes each one so special.

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)Songwriter Interviews

Before "Rap" was a form of music, it was something guys did to pick up girls in nightclubs. Donnie talks about "The Rapper" and reveals the identity of Leah.