Dixie Chicks Return With ‘Gaslighter’, Their First New Album in 14 Years
The Chicks are back with a new feminist anthem.
In the midst of coronavirus fears and election anxiety, the Dixie Chicks are here to save the goddamn day with “Gaslighter”, their first new single in 14 years. The song, produced by Jack Antonoff, has been released along with a music video for the track, which bears the same title as their upcoming album. And like all the best Dixie Chicks’ anthems, “Gaslighter” focuses on men doing women wrong.
The single is said to be inspired by lead singer Natalie Maines’ contentious divorce with actor Adrian Pasdar (Heroes), with was finally settled last year.
The music video, directed by Seanne Farmer, features images of classic Americana: happy families, dance performances, commercials for Mister Potato Head and the infamous “Daisy” commercial for president Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 presidential election campaign. In the commercial, a little girl is seen picking the petals off of a daisy and counting them down as a nuclear bomb goes off.
“Daisy” marked a watershed moment for campaign advertising and the use of fear-mongering and villainizing the opponent. And it is this very fear-based style of attacking that is at the center of “Gaslighter”. Now a ubiquitous buzzword, the term “gaslighting” has become synonymous with the Trump administration. It has also become synonymous with experiencing life as a woman.
In the song, Maines sings, “You thought I wouldn’t see it if you put it in my face/Give you all my money you’ll gladly walk away/You think it’s justifiable I think it’s pretty cruel/And you know you lie best when you lie to you.” The Chicks appear dressed in soldier uniforms as images of women soldiers play behind them.
But “Gaslighter” is not only about the men in the Chicks’ personal life, but the larger “man” in question: George W. Bush. During a concert in London in 2003, Maines infamously told the crowd that she didn’t support the war in Iraq saying, “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”
What followed was a massive boycott by fans, the loss of sponsorships, and death threats to Maines and her bandmates Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Erwin Robison. Radio stations refused to play their music, and the Chicks largely faded from the public eye while the Bush administration committed war crimes in Iraq and destabilized the region.
Their 2006 album Taking the Long Way was a critical and commercial hit with the debut single “Not Ready to Make Nice”. Despite being blacklisted from country music radio stations, it went on to Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year at the 2007 Grammys.
Gaslighter the album will be released on May 1, 2020. Welcome back Dixie Chicks, we missed you.
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