The Chicks – Gaslighter
Most of us know the Dixie Chicks as the award-winning noughties girl band. This year, following controversy after the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing Black Lives Matter protests, the band have changed their name to “The Chicks”. The word “Dixie” sparked controversy because it references the Mason-Dixon line that separated the free Northern US states from the slave-owning Southern states during the American Civil War. The band originally chose the name in 1989 as a reference to the rock album Dixie Chicken by Little Feat. The Chicks recently said in an interview with Variety that they felt they had outgrown “that stupid name”.
After their comeback country-rock tour in 2016, Gaslighter has a mellower, more settled and pop-party flavour. The addition of an acoustic girl group sound overlaid with the Chicks’ country and bluegrass roots makes their recent release a cross between the Steps and The Shangri-Las. The lead single Gaslighter (after which the collection is named) has already acquired up to 15 million listens on Spotify since its release on 4th March, 2020. As the album’s opening number, it is a pumping and catchy girl-power anthem that places Gaslighter firmly in the post-breakup listening zone; most of the tracks are about women’s power despite the horrible things that men have done to them.
Though the Chicks are in their 40s now (one is 50), Gaslighter has a fresh, youthful and cheesy road-trip atmosphere. Songs like Sleep at Night and Tights On My Boat make their compilation a potential treasure trove of flower power anthems for all ages. Numbers like My Best Friend’s Weddings explore the experience of looking back and reminiscing about your youth and the vast majority of songs are relatable for anyone who has been hurt by love, regardless of their age.
It’s a bit of a shame that with the move towards classic pop, the Chicks take another step away from their bluegrass country origins, and at times Gaslighter has a somewhat “generic” pop sound. However, tracks like Hope It’s Something Good and Set Me Free do have a Carrie Underwood-style country feel and the transition towards pop comes with some absolute bangers to dance to. Especially during lockdown, there is something to be said for a new, relatable and uplifting album you can turn up the volume to and let yourself go.
Photo: The Chicks
Gaslighter is released on 17th July 2020. For further information or to order the album visit The Chicks’s website here.
Watch the video for Gaslighter here:
Read Variety’s interview with The Chicks here.