TRACK REVIEW: ‘Gaslighter’ – Dixie Chicks

In the current political climate, its hard to imagine a public figure making a comment bad enough to truly affect their career, regardless of where that comment may fall on the political spectrum. Sure, they might be on the receiving end of a few viral hate tweets, maybe they will be forced to issue a half-hearted apology, but radio stations banning their music? No chance. People burning and destroying their records? Not likely. This fact makes the return of the Dixie Chicks all the more interesting. After the public lashing over lead vocalist Natalie Maine’s comments around George Bush and the Iraq War, the trio released one more album, and all though a piercing artistic, commercial and critical triumph, the record has remained their last for over a decade. However, that is no longer true. With ‘Gaslighter’, the Dixie Chicks are back, as brilliant as ever.

The title track and lead single from their forthcoming album due out May 1, ‘Gaslighter’ is a scathing take-down delivered in the form of a country banger. Despite notable features on both music from Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, ‘Gaslighter’ is a true return from the group, boasting all their wonderfully distinct signatures that makes them one of music’s finest groups. Produced and co-written by Jack Antonoff, ‘Gaslighter’ continues Antonoff’s streak of lifting up some of music finest female voices. The track’s lyrics speak in such mind-boggling detail that never feels shoe-horned or forced, instead flowing so perfectly along.

Pulling no punches in its dealings with the themes of Hollywood and abuse, the track deals with the deeply personal breakdown of Maine’s marriage, all wrapped up in a thundering chorus. “Gaslighter,” the trio roar accusingly, “You Liar.” Maine’s voice is as sharp and immaculate as it was over a decade ago, with the vocal and instrument work of Emily Robinson and Martie Maguire providing masterful support.

‘Gaslighter’ blends the political punches and anger that made 2006’s Taking The Long Way such a defining piece of work with the deeply detailed autobiographical elements that made the Chick’s earlier work so magical. In 2003, the world was not ready for three women to stand up and have an opinion. In 2020, that fact has changed, and the Dixie Chicks had a lot to do with that. Hopefully, now that the world is ready for it, people will sit up and listen. Then again, how couldn’t they when it sounds this good?

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