The Dixie Chicks and their gaslighters

The controversial country group return with a new single, ‘Gaslighter’

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The Dixie Chicks’ latest single, ‘Gaslighter,’ was released on March 4.

Tim Powers, Staff Writer

The Dixie Chicks are back with their first bit of music in 14 years since facing backlash against their comment regarding the Iraq War.

In 2003, during a concert in London right before the start of the Iraq War, Dixie Chicks’ lead-singer, Natalie Maines, addressed the audience and said, “We don’t want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.” From this moment on, the record-breaking country band was never treated the same. They were seen as traitors by the conservative country music establishment, their music sales went down, “fans’’ burned their albums and they even received death threats. 

For most bands, this would be considered the end. But not for the Dixie Chicks. They refused to back down and apologize. They instead stood by their words despite the plummeting sales and support from just about everyone. By standing up, they turned it into not only a music legend, but also their brand. They were already known for their fiery songs like “Goodbye Earl,” which chronicles the murder of a friend’s abusive husband. So why not also be known for their fiery words too? 

Their fourth studio album, “Taking the Long Way,” was released which featured the song, “Not Ready to Make Nice,” a response to their comments on the Iraq War. The lyrics go, “I’m not ready to make nice/ I’m not ready to back down/ I’m still mad as hell, and I don’t have time/ To go ’round and ’round and ’round/ It’s too late to make it right/ I probably wouldn’t if I could.” The single would go on to become their highest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100. At the Grammys, the band would win all the awards they were nominated for including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. 

That was all the way back in 2006 and the band hasn’t released music together since. Until now. 

A lot has changed in the last 14 years between solo albums, new presidents and three divorces. The band’s new single, “Gaslighter,” talks of Maines’ divorce that has gotten quite heated. So heated, that the band cannot talk about the new single or upcoming album to the press due to legal complications, the Dixie Chicks said in an interview with Allure. It’s hard not to see why when hearing the lyrics of the new song, “Gaslighter, denier/ Doin’ anything to get your ass farther/ Gaslighter, big timer/ Repeating all of the mistakes of your father/ Gaslighter, you broke me/ You’re sorry, but where’s my apology?” 

“Gaslighter” is the most quintessential Dixie Chicks song that the band has ever recorded. The title alone is perfect for a Dixie Chicks song — it feels natural. Something that has been missing in music lately. The lyrics are honest, fiery and emotional, while the production by Jack Antonoff feels familiar, yet fresh. It is as if the Dixie Chicks didn’t take a 14-year break and have been making and practicing their music all along. “Gaslighter” is ultimately a song that proves why the Dixie Chicks are so powerful in the first place and why the country establishment banned them in the first place. They call out the bullshit. 

And with the release of the new single, comes the announcement of a new album too, also titled “Gaslighter.” It is produced by the Dixie Chicks as well as Antonoff. The album is currently scheduled to be released on May 1. If the lead single is any indication, the album is sure to be full of passion, fire and great music.