Taking the Long Way - Monument/Open Wide - May 2006
For the first time they have released an album of entirely new originals. The album has been long awaited, not least due to the controversal statements of Natalie Maines, which made many fans turn their back the group. It seems all this controversy made the girls want to make the perfect album - and in my opinion they have succeeded. Each song is a gem; some are potential classics.
The album starts off extremely stongly with three outstanding tracks. "The Long Way Around" is simply so catchy that it must be the obvious choice for their next single. The album contains a handful of great ballads, and "Easy Silence" may very be the strongest - a very moving and personal song, which also could turn out to have hit-potentials.
"Not Ready to Make Nice", the first single, deals lyrically directly with the political controversy, and muscially it's another outstanding track. "Everybody Knows" and "Bitter End" are more "country" and traditional Dixie Chicks - both fine tracks. "Lullaby" is what it says - a quiet acoustic lullaby - and a beautiful one.
"Lubbock or Leave it" is an up-beat bluegrass rocker; not unlike some of the tracks from "Home", though heavier produced. "Silent House" is dark ballad - lyrically dealing with getting old. "Favorite Year" is another personal favourite; a very catchy track sounding a lot like Sheryl Crow, which is really no surprise, as Crow co-wrote the song with Martie and Natalie.
The funky and groovin' "I Like it" shows that the girls are not afraid to step completely away from their country-roots. "Baby Hold On" is a fine rock-ballad - interesting sound on the lead guitar. "I Hope" was released a Katrine charity track; another soulful recording and a worthy closing track.
"Taking the Long Way" is one of the greatest records released this year, and is very likely to be an album that 2006 will be remembered for.