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Dixie Chicks Try Comeback Through Controversy
March 27, 2006

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Once upon a time in the music world the Dixie Chicks were on their way to superstardom. One fateful overseas concert would change all that.

Just days before the Iraq war formally began, the country music group was on tour in Europe. "Just so you know," lead singer Natalie Maines yelled at a U.K. concert, "we're ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas."

The band's recordings now receive about 30 percent less radio airplay than they did prior to Maines' anti-Bush screed on foreign soil. To this day there are radio stations that continue to boycott the group.

In an apparent effort to gain publicity and reach a wider rock-oriented audience, the Chicks from time to time have tried to milk the controversy. The three members posed for the cover of Entertainment Weekly with words like "Traitors," "Saddam's Angels," "Dixie Sluts," "Free Speech" and "Brave" emblazoned on their nude bodies.

During the last presidential election, the threesome participated in the "Vote for Change" concerts that targeted swing states on behalf of the Kerry campaign.

"This album was total therapy," Maines said. "I'm way more at peace now. Writing these songs and saying everything we had to say makes it possible to move on."

But Maines sings a different tune on the album's single. The title itself, "Not Ready to Make Nice," is revealing and smells a whole lot like an attempt to garner attention for a group that would otherwise be fading.

The chorus has some very non-apologetic and unimaginative lyrics including the following: "I'm not ready to make nice, I'm not ready to back down, I'm still mad as hell and I don't have time to go round and round and round," ending with the phrase "'Cause I'm mad as hell, can't bring myself to do what it is you think I should."

As far as putting things behind her, Maines croons, "Forgive, sounds good, forget, I'm not sure I could. They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."

Apparently, radio stations aren't waiting. Many have already indicated that they won't play the tune.

As for the Chicks, they apparently recognize that the resuscitation of their career is dependent upon their willingness to walk and talk like DNC ducks.

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