The Dixie Chicks are back to take their rightful place as queens of country rock. With “Gaslighter,” the first single off their upcoming album of the same name, the trio isn’t easing their way back. They’re coming in swinging.
Back in 2003, the industry basically shunned Martie Erwin Maguire, Emily Erwin Robison, and lead singer Natalie Maines after Maines publicly criticized President George W. Bush during a concert in London (she said she was “ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas”). This was not the first time that year they’d drawn the ire of their own peers and audience. A few months prior, they faced major backlash for posing nude on the now-iconic cover of Entertainment Weekly.
The band teased “Gaslighter” with an Instagram of the word’s definition: “a psychological manipulator who seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a group, making them question their own memory, perception or sanity.” Sound familiar?
If you think we’re over-playing the cause of their shortened career (until recent collabs with Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, of course) or that their political history didn’t have a major impact on the industry, just listen to what Swift had to say about why she hid her own political opinions for years.
“I come from country music. The number one thing they absolutely drill into you as a country artist, and you can ask any other country artist this, is ‘Don’t be like the Dixie Chicks!’” Swift told The Guardian. “I watched country music snuff that candle out. The most amazing group we had, just because they talked about politics. And they were getting death threats. They were made such an example that basically every country artist that came after that, every label tells you, ‘Just do not get involved, no matter what.’”
That story got a happy ending, at least. Taylor Swift started to speak out (check out her documentary Miss Americana for more on that), and the Dixie Chicks were featured on the Lover song “Soon You’ll Get Better.” Now, it’s time for the Dixie Chicks to stand on their own. With “Gaslighter,” the band is making their perfectly harmonized voices heard once again, and nobody is going to stop them. Watch the full video, below:
(P.S. this song slaps.)