The New Dixie Chicks Song

So, well, yes.

I hate it.

I wasn’t sure that it sucked, so I went in to my one Tiny-Cat-Pants-knowing-about co-worker–let’s call her the Guru–and asked her what she thought.

I think it sounds like a bad, angry Sheryl Crow song.  But the Guru really nails it.  She said it’s a terrible power ballad, something you’d expect out of Poison or Warrant, and god damn if she isn’t right.

Listen, I’m all for the Dixie Chicks. If they want to stand in front of England, who is our ally in this craptastic war, and denounce our president for his idiocy, more power to them.  I understand the argument that it was inappropriate for them to do it in a foreign country, but just exactly how foreign is England when it comes to us?

We used to be part of Britain, as you history buffs may recall.  They’re our staunchest ally.  And we trade pop culture back and forth like nothing.  If we can’t talk about our problems with the British and expect them to sympathize, who can we?

But this?  I actually find this song kind of unforgivable.

This ought to be their big ‘fuck you’ to their critics and their enemies and the folks who turned their backs on them and it ought to be their “well, looky here.  Turns out we were right” moment.  This song should be their “Turn the Page” and instead it’s their “To Be With You*.”

They’ve mistaken slowness for seriousness and huge pauses in their delivery for a way of building anticipation.  The Guru says that the verses could not be more flat.  She’s completely right.

I mean, seriously, folks threatened to kill you.  Radio stations banned you.  You threatened to leave country music and never come back.  Everyone thought you’d committed career suicide.

And this?  This is what you come up with out of that?

The words to this section are good:

I made my bed and I sleep like a baby

With no regrets and I don’t mind sayin’

It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her

Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger

 And how in the world can the words that I said

Send somebody so over the edge

That they’d write me a letter

Sayin’ that I better shut up and sing

Or my life will be over

But I think that’s because it is specifically about the incidents that led to the creation of this song.  There’s real power in just coming out and saying what you mean, being specific about what you’re talking about (the verses, I think, lack this).  But the delivery just feels all wrong to me.

And the song kind of plods.  Why are you plodding?  Plodding is for regret.  You claim you don’t regret what happened and you aren’t “ready to back down” so why are you moping through your song?

And, good lord, what’s with the Aerosmith-ian string section?

Do they do remixes in country music?  God, I don’t think they do.

Which is really too bad, because this could be a kick ass song with an entirely different arrangement.  Faster, angrier… more wicked.  More country.

I mean, didn’t they get the memo?  The days of “Just Breathe” are over.  Loretta’s back on TV.  Everyone’s dressing like it’s the 70s in their videos.

You don’t have to leave country to be pissed off.  There are plenty of pissed off women in country music.  In fact, I can’t think of another branch of American music** in which women are given reign to express their anger.  I mean, there aren’t a lot of happy “You Done Me Wrong” songs.

So, in the end, I think that’s what’s wrong with this song.  They’re angry, and rightfully so, but they’re attempting to express that anger in a pop ballad.  There are no pissed-off women in pop ballads, only deeply wounded ones.  And so what should be a fun song full of fury ends up being a slow, mopey boring mess.


*Surely, y’all remember that fucktarded Mr. Big song?

**Aside from rap, which is for urban folks what country music is for rural folks, so that’s no surprise.

11 thoughts on “The New Dixie Chicks Song

  1. Firstly, I’m just trying to hear this in my head as a polka, which might make it better, because then at least you could kick up your heels to it. Secondly, re: the Dixie Chicks. Being, you know, COUNTRY, did they really ever think that their whole ‘fuck our president thang’ was going to go over very well? Because if they did, either they were stupid, or their ‘people’ were stupid, because their target market was never one that one would generally think of as being receptive to that message, no matter what you think of it, or them. So you think they are they ‘deeply wounded’ and ‘rightfully angry?’ Bite me.Well, not you, B, but them. Do you think this is supposed to be their apology?I think they are probably trying to regain some ground, some credibility (where Credibility = Money) with those who used to be their bigggest fan base before they shot their mouth off. And no one needs to dress like the 70s again. Trust me on this one.

  2. Maybe no one told them that country music is just like hip hop.They pissed on their demographic with their music, then said "Fuck You" to the same market by "leaving country music". Now that they’ve realized the vast musical world ALSO doesn’t want to hear their crap, they’ve come back with a song that reminds me of a Cynthia McKinney apology: "I’m sorry the whole sordid business happened".

  3. This song should so be a polka. There is nothing a polka can’t improve.Anyway, there’s definitely room in country music for unapologetic ass-hole-y-ness. Lord knows Toby Keith has built a career out of it.But it seems like the Chicks want to have it both ways–they want to be unapologetic assholes, but they want everyone to like them again. It just doesn’t happen like that.Exador, country music is just like hip hop. Don’t make fun of me when I’m right.Newscoma, if you go to their website, it’ll just start coming out of your speakers and boring you to tears.

  4. Holy…Hip…Hop…. Holy. Hip. Hop. C’mon, the Dixie Chicks have always been rotten. You’re just catching on now? I’m all in favor of a healthy disrespect for th commander in chief, any commander in chief, but this one especially (as somebody once said, I’m neither a democrat nor a republican, I’m just against whoever’s in power); but that doesn’t make them any good.

  5. Holy smokes. Someone must have got the Richie Sambora chordbook for Christmas. Does this song make anyone else want to bellow out "Wanted….Dead or Alive?" I think she’s going for "controlled anger" but winding up with "I don’t want to to talk about this any more." That probably reflects the distance between when the song was written and when it was recorded. The marketing strategy of embracing their most notable PR incident isn’t aimed at their base but probably at the Adult Contemporary market that skews more liberal in politics and who helped spike sales upward in the month after the Clear Channel episode. The cover art, the songlist, it’s all saying to me "we’ll make ourselves as accessible as possible to people who watch VH-1 and the cleaned-up reruns of Sex and the City."

  6. These Chicks are a clear example of believing all the hype they’ve been told about themselves. They have definitely forgotten that everyone you step on going up is waiting to give you a push on the way down. They successfully got all their money from Capital, bought themselves big houses in Hawaii, had some kids and they think there is this huge audience just waiting for them to come back. Johnny Cash never played the Opry again after his famous incident, Nashville has a long professional memory. No one in the business is even talking about them anymore.On a side note, this is the first decently styled picture they have taken in years.

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