The Chicks Are Back and Louder Than Ever
Gaslighter has arrived and reveals that The Chicks are not going to be silenced.
After a 14 year hiatus The Chicks, formerly known as the Dixie Chicks, have released a 12 track album entitled Gaslighter. The current activist climate and call for justice has given The Chicks the perfect platform for their release. 17 years ago, the trio risked their career by speaking out about former President Bush’s decision to involve the United States in Iraq. With the current global climate catching up to their “radical” way of thinking, Gaslighter has arrived, and reveals that The Chicks are not going to be silenced.
While social change is almost an obvious topic featured on the album (“March March”), more personal topics like their children (“Young Man,” “Julianna Calm Down”), ex-husbands (“Hope It’s Something Good”) and even themselves (“For Her”) are drawn on. While I have never listened to an album by The Chicks in full, my first experience with them was at a Taylor Swift’s Speak Now tour. When she was on the B-stage, she performed an acoustic version of “Cowboy Take Me Away,” which started a mini-obsession with that song.
Aside from one song, my experience with the country trio has been limited. Gaslighter was a great introduction to the band, since it highlighted their signature country twang, while also dipping their toe into the pop arena with songs like the title track “Gaslighter.” Even while using country-style instruments, production by pop producer Jack Antonoff (Taylor Swift, Lorde) gives new life to the genre and allows The Chicks to have a unique sound while sticking to their roots.
Overall, I really enjoyed listening to this album and getting to listen to a band that I’ve heard so much about but never really explored on my own. Alternating between upbeat and more meaningful songs, the album is consistent and provides a good reflection of what members Natalie Maines, Emily Strayer and Martie Maguire have been up to since their last release. All three members have children who have grown up in the time since their last album, Taking the Long Way. Some of my favorite tracks (aside from the title track) are more lowkey tracks like “Julianna Calm Down” that are meant to provide advice for their children and those close to them. Lyrics like “Hold on/ To everything you know to be true/ Don’t let the wolves get the best of you” may be a little cliché , but paired with the names of children and relatives make them more heartfelt and meaningful.
Should The Chicks release an album in the next 14 years, I would love to listen to it and see how their style evolves if they continue to work with writers and producers outside of their main genre.
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