We have all been acquainted with the ever popular laws of physics: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. A lesson the Dixie Chicks know all too well. Following their infamous negative commentary regarding President Bush in 2003, the Chicks encountered intense hostility from a majority of their public. The group’s newest album, Taking the Long Way, serves as the long-awaited response to that resentment.
Gracing radios everywhere, “Not Ready to Make Nice,” the first single off the album, departs from conventional Dixie Chicks style. The aggressive single offers a deep look into the emotional roller coaster that surrounded the controversial period. The track strays far from the group’s typical topics of choice, such as “cowboys to take [them] away” or “wide open spaces.” The single stands out from the other tracks, not only in subject matter, but also by the maturely orchestrated angst reminiscent of Pearl Jam or Bruce Springsteen. Saddling alongside the theme of growing up, several of the other tracks’ subjects are about the band members’ families, seen on songs such as “Baby Hold On” and “Lullaby.” Lyrically, the Chicks delve further into their own life experiences like the birth of their children and family health issues. The Dixie Chicks have teamed up with the likes of musician Sheryl Crow and producer Rick Rubin to create 14 tracks that serve as tiny autobiographies.
The overall quality of the album is a major departure from typical Dixie Chicks style. Political and emotional, the Chicks produce an album that strays away from mainstream country music to a more folk rock sound. Although vocally the music retains their ever so popular country twang, the album appeals to fans of all genres. From an incident that could have terminated their careers, the Dixie Chicks have truly emerged as victors. Hopefully the Chicks will be able to grow with this newfound approach to music and join the political bandwagon along with other outspoken artists of our generation.
[Amita Chollate is ready to make nice with the next cowboy that comes along to take her away]