Treat You Better


Date Aired
October 19, 2016
Running Time
Previous review
Next review

Todd plays "Treat You Better" on the piano.

A pop song review

Todd: So. Remember this kid? Talked about him last year?

Clip of "Stitches"
Shawn Mendes: You watch me bleed until I can't breathe

Todd (VO): Yeah, I bet you don't remember him. His name is Shawn Mendes, he's just your average teen idol, except one little difference: he plays guitar.

Todd: And that makes all the difference in the world.

Clips of One Direction - "Live While We're Young"

Todd (VO): It's one thing to be a teen singer. Teen pop is just bubblegum, it's not meant to be Beethoven. [...Shawn performing at Billboard Music Awards...] But put a guitar in your hand, and instantly, you're telling people that you want to be recognized as an artist. A songwriter, even. [... and briefly Justin Bieber - "One Less Lonely Girl"] I mean, sometimes a guitar is just a prop. But for Mendes, it's his entire identity. Everything about Mendes's presentation—his over-earnest singing, his stripped-down MTV Unplugged instrumentation—all of it suggests that you're supposed to take him seriously.

Todd: And I do. I take him very seriously. Wish granted, you little shit!

Clip of "Mercy"

Todd (VO): No, I, I truly despise this kid, possibly more than I hated the young Justin Bieber. Mendes doesn't have Bieber's unforgettable anti-charisma, but he does have this leaden "oh, I'm so sincere" affect that just doesn't fit his shallow, vacant music. It's like he's trying to split the difference between Bieber and Ed Sheeran, just not possible. It's just a disaster in the making.

Brief clip of Justin and Ed, backed by Justin Bieber - "Love Yourself"
Justin Bieber: 'Cause if you like the way you...

Yeah, okay, Sheeran and Bieber did write a song together, but that is different.

Todd: I...I think I've said all this before in the last review, so...

Clip of "Stitches"

Todd (VO): With as much as I hated Mendes, some of you were surprised that his first hit "Stitches" only made Honorable Mention on my Worst list last year.

Todd: Eh. I don't know.

Todd (VO): This shit is so wishy-washy and weak that it's hard to hate it on its own. [Clip of "I Know What You Did Last Summer" with Camila Cabello] And honestly, I didn't totally hate his follow-up either.

Shawn: I know what you did last summer
Just lie to me, "there's no other"
I know what you did last summer
Shawn and Camila: Tell me where you've been

I mean, I don't know why he named it after an awful, awful horror movie from the '90s. I mean, it's not like [poster of Summer Catch] Freddie Prinze Jr. nostalgia is a thing, thankfully. But you know, at least it's a hook. At least it has some energy, which makes it better than "Stitches." I mean, yeah, "Stitches" was a bad song, but I hated it mostly because it showed Mendes had the potential to be a truly awful performer.

Todd: And today, I can proudly announce that that potential has been fulfilled. I wanna throw him a bar mitzvah or something. [Picture of a boy lifted on a chair at his bar mitzvah] Today, you are a douchebag! So let us look at his new single, "Treat You Better." Oh, boy, I'm already shuddering.

Video for "Treat You Better"

Todd (VO): No, I'm sorry, this is "Stitches" again. Whoops, sorry about that.

Todd: I'm sorry. Sorry about that mistake. God, what a stupid mistake, right? It's alright, it's just my support staff are idiots.

Todd (VO): It's just one boneheaded screw-up after another with them. They're all incompetent morons. They are...they are the worst, the absolute worst, every last one of them.

Todd: My camera guy sucks, my producer sucks, my sound editors really suck. I could replace them all with a goddamn box of dead monkeys and get better support! I mean, who makes a mistake like that?! Who...what the hell is wrong with you people that you can't...wait, what? It's the right song?

Shawn: Treat you better

Todd (VO): Right song the whole time. Oh, okay. [chuckles] Oops.

Todd: Sorry, Dan. It is Dan, right? Dave? Sorry, Dave. Okay. You sure those are different songs?

Intercut clips of "Stitches"...
...and "Treat You Better"
Shawn: I won't lie to you
I know
Shawn: one's ever left me quite...
Shawn: ...for you

Todd (VO): Christ, I think it's even the same chords. Same melody, even; it's certainly not far off. Exactly...

Todd: ...the level of creativity I expect from this simp. Did Teddy Geiger co-write this one, too? [shot of sheet music, with "Teddy Geiger" circled] Of course he did. Christ, are we just gonna resurrect every awful singer from ten years ago? [clip of "White Iverson" by...] Am I gonna find out that Post Malone's stuff is being ghostwritten by [picture of...] Kevin Federline?

Okay, this is a new song. Fine. Roll with it.

Todd (VO): The song is "Treat You Better," apology song, maybe? He's gonna learn to treat you better?

Shawn: I won't lie to you
I know he's just not right for you

Nope! One of these songs, I see!

Todd: [rubbing hands together] Oh, boy.

Shawn: I know I can treat you better than he can
And any girl like you deserves a gentle man

Todd (VO): Your guy treats you bad, and Shawn can treat you better because he's a gentleman. He is...

Todd: ...dare I say it, [close-up on each following word] such a nice guy.

Shawn: I just wanna give you the loving that you're missing

Todd (VO): nice, just the nicest guy, and he knows what's best for you.

Shawn: But I see it on your face when you say that he's the one that you want

"Why are you with that guy?"

Todd: "God, I guess girls just like assholes, right?" [picture of Shawn in a backwards cap] I can't find a picture of Mendes wearing a fedora, but you know what? Some guys wear their fedoras on the inside.

Shawn: Promise I won't let you down

Todd (VO): See, the thing about nice guys is, even though they think they're nice guys, they're...

Todd: Wait a minute, why do I even have to explain this? This is 20-goddamn-16, we all know this, right? [picture of "nice guy" holding flowers: "How to Overcome the Nice Guy Syndrome"] "Nice guy" is already shorthand for [Meme of, with caption reader "Women never date nice guys like me. I hate those fucking bitches"...] "balls-less loser with delusions of nobility when they're secretly just as much of an asshole as the alpha jocks they hate." We all know this, we've known it for years.

Todd (VO): "No, Mendes is just a kid. Maybe he's too young...

Todd: re..." Bullshit!

Todd (VO): Mendes is young enough that he's never lived in a world where "nice guys" were considered anything but douchebags! He should have this idea embedded into his DNA!

Todd: I shouldn't be even talking about this. It's like when [clip of "Flatline" by...] B.o.B released a song about how the Earth is flat!

B.o.B: It's probably why the horizon is always rising
Indoctrinated in a cult called science

Todd: No! We're not arguing about this!

B.o.B: Heliocentrism

Todd (VO): I don't owe you an explanation! This was settled a long time ago; how are you this far behind?!

Todd: And that's the thing. At least B.o.B, [images of tweets by B.o.B] who, if you haven't heard, does, in fact, think that the Earth is flat. That's a real thing; he is that crazy. He's a crazy piece of shit. But at least he realizes that he's pushing against the accepted wisdom.

Todd (VO): "Treat You Better" isn't even that far ahead. It's just so Level 1. There's literally nothing new about this.

Shawn: And you can tell me if I'm off
But I see it on your face
When you say that he's the one that you want

[exhales] I don't know, maybe...he's trying to make the uber-nice-guy song that will invalidate the need for any other one ever.

Todd: Just like when Radiohead wrote "Creep."

Clip of same
Thom Yorke: But I'm a creep

Todd (VO): It's like, no one ever has to write a song about self-loathing ever again; we have the song.

Todd: Eh...? No, no.

Todd (VO): "Treat You Better" is not even trying to accomplish that much! It's just like he thought he's the first guy to come up with the idea that maybe if you [picture of smiling guy in a fedora] tip that fedora hard enough, girls will flock to your door. This song is just so basic.

Todd: It's boring! I may as well just go to sleep right here. [tilts head down and snores]

Shawn: Better than he can!

Todd: [coming back up] What the hell was that?

Shawn: I know I can treat you better
Better than he can!

Todd: Did a cockatoo just die?

Shawn: Better than he can!

Todd (VO): Was that a human voice? Were those even words?! [singing] Treat you better...

Shawn: Better than he can!

Todd: "Been a daddy gad"?

Shawn: Better than he can!

Todd: "Meta nanny cam"?

Shawn: Better than he can!

Todd: "Bet on Dan Egan"? [looking at phone] Who's Dan Egan? [promo pic of, with Dan Egan on the far right...] He's a character on Veep. Shawn Mendes is a big Julia Louis-Dreyfus fan, I guess.

Shawn: Better than he can!

Todd (VO): That sound, I can't believe they even just left that in there. I mean, to be fair, I don't like the way he sings to begin with.

Todd: He sings everything just kinda off.

Shawn: Tell me why are we wasting time
On all your wasted crying
When you should be with me instead

Todd: He's clearly saying, "wasted crime" there, right?

Shawn: Tell me why are we wasting time
On all your wasted crying (...crime (?))

Todd (VO): [shot of handcuffed hands] Which would indeed be a waste of time. And here, this part.

Shawn: And any girl like you deserves a gentle man

You heard that. [pictures of a...] He's not saying, "gentleman," [...and a hand patted a chick] he's saying, "gentle man."

Todd: As in, a man who is gentle, which...I don't know, maybe she's into that.

Clip of Tenacious D performing "Fuck Her Gently"
Jack Black: I'm gonna screw you gently
I'm gonna hump you sweetly

Todd: But maybe she's not. Maybe she's into a little more ugh!

Clip of Ariana Grande ft. The Weeknd - "Love Me Harder"
Ariana: Gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta
Got to love me harder

Todd: Point is, maybe she doesn't want a She is with this other guy for a reason, after all.

Todd (VO): That's the worst part of the nice guy mentality, the colossal presumptuousness of it all. Even if this other guy is, in fact, a dick who treats her bad, that she shouldn't be with...

Todd: ...doesn't mean she wants to be with you.

Todd (VO): Maybe once she dumps him, she'll go to some guy who's even nicer than you. Maybe one who plays a cooler instrument. Ahem.

Todd: it just because we're all sick of "nice guys" that this plays so badly? Just 'cause the type is so familiar?

Todd (VO): What if we...what if we flip the genders and see how it plays? Just...imagine if Shawn Mendes was an acoustic guitar-playing girl, talking about how your girlfriend is awful, and ...

Todd: ...she could totally treat you better and you'd be happier and all that. Is there a song like that?

Video for Taylor Swift - "You Belong with Me"
Taylor: You're on the phone with your girlfriend, she's upset

Todd (VO): Oh, geez, yes, there is. Is there ever.

Taylor: You can see that I'm the one who understands you

Wow, it's just like the exact same song, really. So...shouldn't we all just nail Taylor Swift for this bullshit, too?

Todd: Well...I mean, I certainly never liked this song.

Taylor: She wears high heels, I wear sneakers

Todd (VO): Yeah, yeah, there's definitely a sense of mean girl cattiness to it; a seed that would blossom into the [brief clip of "Bad Blood"] bitchy, thin-skinned prima donna we know today.

Todd: But you know what? No, no. This song is way better than "Treat You Better." For one...

Todd (VO):'s all clearly an internal monologue.

Taylor: Laughing on a park bench thinking to myself
"Hey, isn't this easy?"

Todd (VO): As opposed to Mendes, who is being

Todd: ...unintentionally patronizing right to the girl's face.

Shawn: I won't lie to you
I know he's just not right for you

Todd (VO): Oh, how big of you.

Todd: "Karen, I'm so sorry. I can't lie to you. You need to hear this. I realize it may be hard, but I have to do the right thing and tell you the hard facts. You should be riding my dick and not his."
"Well, gosh! Thank you, you bold truth-teller. Let me reward your honesty by giving you third base right here in the hall."

Todd (VO): But that's not even the main point.

Taylor: If you could see that I'm the one

The main point is, "You Belong with Me" is upbeat and fun. "Treat You Better" sounds like garbage.

Shawn: Take my hand, we'll be fine

Todd (VO): It has no hook, Shawn Mendes's voice is thin and grating, and his song is sour mush.

Todd: I take back every comparison I ever made between him and Ed Sheeran.

Brief clips of Sheeran

Todd (VO): Sheeran, whatever you wanna say about him, tries. Tries very hard, often too hard. Mendes sounds like he scribbled out the first lines that rhyme. [Another brief clip of "One Less Lonely Girl"] I even take back the comparison to Bieber. Like, even Bieber, early Bieber, at his most unlikable little puke-stained self, at least he could sing. He could hold a note that had, like, the tone that you expect a professional singer to have.

Shawn: Better than he can!

Todd (VO): And what really worries me is that nice-guyism might make a comeback, like the measles, like Shawn Mendes is the fedoraed [picture of...] Jenny McCarthy.

Todd: We fought this war so hard...

Todd (VO): ...and now, here's Mendes singing a nice-guy song that is inexplicably a hit, and all the neckbeards will be like, "man, I guess girls really do like nice guys." No, they like him because he's cute. He could be singing about the importance of checking for gas leaks, and they'd eat it up. It won't work for you.

Todd: Don't be spreading these ideas, Mendes, with your stupid, whiny, petty creep anthem! We've done so much work, and you could do so much damage!

Shawn: Better than he can!

Todd: And why do you sound like that?! Why?!

Video ends

Closing Tag Song: Alice Cooper - "No More Mr. Nice Guy"


"Treat You Better" is owned by Island Records

This video is owned by me


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.