The band formerly known as the Dixie Chicks cannot catch a break.
Nearly two decades after the George W. Bush roast heard ‘round the world and the Chicks’ subsequent exile from Nashville, the bestselling Texas trio still have a bone to pick on Gaslighter, the group’s first studio release in nearly 15 years and its most pop-sounding record to date.
Still, the Chicks are ready to speak the thorny truth once more. This time, the conflict is coming from inside the house: Much of Gaslighter is centered on Natalie Maines’ acrimonious divorce from her longtime husband, Heroes actor Adrian Pasdar, which was only finalized this past December. The resulting album is uneven and heartfelt, polished in its production and yet at times so brutally honest that Pasdar tried to block its release based on a confidentiality clause in his and Maines’ prenup. Emotions feel immediate on the LP, as though the ink were still drying on the page. When Maines sings, “After so long, I learned to hold my tongue/And now that you’re done, I get to write this song,” on “Hope It’s Something Good,” it’s not a triumph so much as a weary sigh of relief.