Gaslighter By The Chicks
The Chicks, formerly known as The Dixie Chicks, recently released their first album in fourteen years. If you have read any of my posts about country music or about music in general you will know that I love The Chicks and they are one of my favourite country bands of all time so you can imagine just how excited I was when I heard they were releasing an album. And this was pre-pandemic times so I was excited about them going on tour because they usually come to Canada and I was hoping I would have the opportunity of seeing them live. Obviously, that’s not going to be happening anytime soon.
I was still super excited by the release of their album and I also knew that it was going to be about Natalie’s divorce so I was kind of excited to get all the tea too- not going to lie lol! Just to give a little background information about that- Natalie Maines, the lead singer of The Chicks, got divorced from her husband Adrian Pasdar and it was quite a bitter divorce to say the least. I am not going to tell you the full story because that’s not what this review is about but if you’re interested feel free to read about it by clicking here.
Anyway, back to the album. As you can imagine I was super excited and listened to Gaslighter as soon as it was released- the song not the album- and I listened to the album as soon as it was released as well. I had been meaning to do the review as soon as it came out but unfortunately I got a bit busy and was not able to do the review till today but better late than never I guess. I decided to review each song separately first and I will give you my final thoughts on the album as a whole at the end.
They released this song before they released the album and as soon as I heard it I knew the album was going to be brilliant. This song was raw, emotional, unapologetic, honest and so perfect. It was everything The Chicks are and stand for. Even though the lyrics are about Natalie’s experience I think they are quite relatable for most people who have felt manipulated at some point in a relationship, in a friendship or just in general. This is now my go-to song when I’m pissed off and I love it.
Sleep At Night
This song is a lot more specific to what Natalie is going through with her husband and unlike Gaslighter this one is more about her situation right now. Obviously, divorce is a very complicated thing and hers got even more complicated due to the issues between her and her ex husband. This song deals with the effects of these complications and how her life has changed because of everything that happened between them and also how this whole situation has effected their children’s lives. This song is just mainly her anger and disappointment towards her ex-husband and his betrayal. I really appreciated how honest and transparent she was in this song and how she was willing to put her feelings out there like that.
So compared to the last two songs this one is considerably more upbeat. It talks about the kind of guy that Natalie wish she could find now that she’s single again and the things that she looks for in a man. She also points out how since she’s older and more experienced that may not be what a lot of men are looking for. I think this brings up something interesting because women are often judged differently according to their age, if they’ve been married etc whereas men can get away with a lot of these things without it necessarily being seen as “baggage.”
Everybody Loves You
A lot of times when you have loved someone for a long time it’s hard to hate them even when they have acted in a horrible way and you know deep down you should hate them. This song is like an internal conversation that Natalie has with herself. She wants to hate her ex-husband but deep down a part of her still loves him and she hates herself for feeling these conflicted feelings towards him. She tries to justify to herself why she feels this way and why she is unable to hate him even after everything that he has done to her and after everything that has taken place between them. She starts out being angry at herself for feeling that way but by the end she realises why she feels that way and is able to forgive herself and to let go of the anger she feels towards herself and her body.
This is such an amazing and powerful song about not only standing up against the patriarchy but also about supporting other women. I think sometimes we women tend to be our own worst critique and unfortunately over time due to multiple reasons a lot of women are quick to tear down other women instead of support them. I think this song is the perfect reminder of how important sisterhood is. If we truly want equality we need to love and support one another even if we are different, even if we may not be fighting for the same thing. It’s not about having the same short term goals it’s about the final goal- equality.
This is such an incredible protest anthem and definitely one of my favourite songs in the album. They address issues that have gotten attention this year and they also talk about how they are disappointed that some people in the older generation did not do anything to help solve these issues and instead went in the other direction. But they do also say that they are proud of the younger generation and how they are trying to get involved and bring change.
My Best Friend’s Wedding
At first it seems like Natalie has lost hope of ever finding someone again and she does not seem like she believes that she will ever love someone enough to get married again. However, as she sees how happy her friend, who is getting remarried, is she realises that there is still hope and that her divorce is not the end of her love life but may just be the beginning. Maybe she too can find someone who will make her as happy as her best friends future husband makes her.
Tights On My Boat
“Okay, I hope you die peacefully in your sleep, just kidding, I hope it hurts like you hurt me”
This song is an absolutely brilliant way to tell someone to go screw themselves. Unlike the other songs about Natalie’s marriage/divorce this one is a lot more upbeat and kind of fun- still angry of course just angry in a fun way if that makes any sense. As I mentioned earlier something went down on their boat and clearly it had something to do with him not being a very faithful husband. This song is pretty much what you think about when you break up with someone and you are just so happy to be free but also very pissed at them for being such an awful person. It’s the kind of petty and angry thoughts everyone has had at some point it’s just that we are not as musically talented as The Chicks and can’t make a song out of those thoughts. I will definitely be singing this song every time I break up with someone until the end of time.
Julianna Calm Down
Although the majority of the songs on this album are about Natalie Maines, the lead singer, this one is for the daughters of Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer. The song gives these girls advice about how to deal with men who hurt them in the future. The Chicks admit that it is inevitable that someone will hurt them at some point but they advise to stay strong and keep getting back up.
This song is made for Natalie’s sons- they have obviously been through a lot with their parents divorce. In this song she offers them advice and tells them that they should learn from the mistakes that she and her father have made over the years. However, she accepts that they are their own person and that all she can do is offer them this advice but it’s up to them whether or not to listen to her.
Hope It’s Something Good
This song is towards the end of the album for a reason. It’s sort of a final goodbye for Natalie Maines. Although she is bitter about how he threw twenty years of marriage away she does admit that she has learnt how to move on- as difficult as it was- and has been able to move forward with her life in her own way.
Set Me Free
So this final song in the album sort of has two meanings for Natalie. Yes, she absolutely does want to be free of the pain, hate, anger and all the other emotions that accompanied her divorce. It is definitely her way of trying to free herself and start over. However, it is an actual plea from her to her ex-husband to let her go because in 2019, her ex-husband petitioned to stop them from releasing this album/the tracks on the album. She legally needed permission to release these songs and The Chicks are still not legally allowed to mention specifics about the album/tracks. She wants him to set her free both metaphorically and literally. I think this song was a perfect pick to end the album because it shows that Natalie is still not fully healed from her trauma but at the same time she has not given up and is still ready to fight.
Obviously, my final thoughts on the album are going to be a little bias considering that I love The Chicks and this is their first album in over a decade. I will say this though- they did not disappoint. They maintained all the things their fans loved about them- their honesty, their ability to keep fighting, their bond with each other and so much more. They knew the expectations for this album would be insane but somehow- at least in my opinion- they delivered.
Although the album is centered around Natalie and the recent events that have taken place in her life over the last couple of years I thought the songs were still quite relatable for most people. You don’t even need to have been through a breakup to really understand and feel the emotions in the songs.
I also loved the way they worked with female visual artists to create the visualizers for each of the songs. A lot of people preach about female solidarity but it’s always refreshing to see people practice what they preach. I have always loved how the three women supported one another throughout the years and it’s awesome that they continue to support one another and other women as well.
Overall, I absolutely loved this album. I know that country is not everyone’s cup of tea but to be honest although the songs do song “country” to an extent they are still more of an alt.country band and their sound has evolved from being traditionally country. That’s why I would recommend listening to the album even if you aren’t a huge fan of country.
Are you a fan of country music or alt.country? Do you enjoy music by The Chicks? Have you listened to Gaslighter yet? If so what were your thoughts on it? What was your favourite song from the entire album?
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