Today is May the 23rd and the long hiatus of the Dixie Chicks, comes to and end, with the release of their new album Taking the Long Way
, though to my mind if the idea was a fresh start and regain their former position it would have been better to have named this album Taking the Wrong Way
The last few years have not been kind to the Chicks.
One can see that readily enough in Billboard
Once the darlings of country, the Chicks lost many fans?and the support of country radio?after a 2003 incident in which Natalie Maines made a relatively innocuous comment about President Bush from a London stage. The group has finally re-emerged stronger, more defiant and more creatively ambitious than ever.
That more defiant--than ever is the crux of the whole matter.
Just peruse their Chart History 2003 "Landslide" in Adult Contemporary was their last #1 hit back in 2003 then they pretty much dropped off a cliff.
2003 "Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)" Hot Country Singles & Tracks #48 2003
Then a 2 year absence until in 2005 "I Hope" Hot Country Singles & Tracks #54 and Pop 100 #92?
The single pre-releases of this new album have been equally dismal.
There are reasons for this. We had an interesting debate last night on this subject over at Big Lizards in Maines Vs. Texas, what I am doing here is revising and extending my remarks there.
Country radio disses Dixie Chicks
'Nice' barely scrapes top 40; follow-up faltering
Monday, May 22, 2006; Posted: 9:37 p.m. EDT (01:37 GMT)
Dixie Chicks are not ready to back down (2:14)
Manage Alerts | What Is This? NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Billboard) -- Disappointing airplay for the first two singles from the new album by the Dixie Chicks exposes a deep -- and seemingly growing -- rift between the trio and the country radio market that helped turn the group into superstars.
The first single, "Not Ready to Make Nice," peaked at No. 36 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, beginning its descent after just seven weeks. The second single, "Everybody Knows," is now at No. 50, down two places in its fourth week. (Watch the Chicks try to reposition themselves -- 2:14)
"Not Ready to Make Nice" performed only slightly better at adult contemporary radio, peaking at No. 32 on the AC chart and falling off after six weeks.
By picking the defiant "Not Ready" as the first single, they've reopened a wound that was particularly deep for country radio fans, and left many country programmers with the burning question: Why on earth would the band choose to do this?
After hearing the album, WKIS Miami program director Bob Barnett says he was "excited about the opportunity to introduce some great Chicks music to the listeners." But the group's decision to come with "Not Ready" as the lead single left him "stunned, especially in light of the fact that, when asked, programmers and consultants that listened to the project were virtually unanimous in saying we should put the politics behind us and concentrate on all this other great music we were hearing."
Barnett played the song for a week, but pulled it after listeners called to say it sounded like the Chicks were "gloating" or "rubbing our noses in it," he reports. "We didn't need to pick at the scab any longer."
That is it in a nutshell, they will have to transition out of Country Music, because the have in effect told Country Music Fans, We don't Want You, We don't Need You, and We don't even LIKE You.
At KNCI Sacramento, California, the Chicks' music weathered the 2003 controversy only to be pulled as a result of Maines' new Entertainment Weekly comments, coupled with poor scores in local music tests.
"When an artist says that they don't want to be a part of that industry, it made our decision a no-brainer," program director Mark Evans says. "There are too many talented new artists dying to have a song played on country radio, so I'd rather give one of them a shot."
To top everything that has gone on over the last three years for many Country Fans this next time may have been the last straw,
For band member Martie Maguire, the controversy was a blessing in disguise.
I'd rather have a small following of really cool people who get it, who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith," Maguire said. "We don't want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do."
Now Toby Keith and the Dixie Chicks have a History, but I don't see any reason for Martie to put down Reba McEntire.
Except one maybe. My opposite number in a debate on Big Lizards made a big deal about the new album being #1 on Amazon, but I pointed out that in my opinion if you REALLY want to gauge the success of a Country album you will look at the Sales figures not on Amazon, but on WalMart.
On the WalMart Website in the top 100 best sellers on the fist page which has the top 30 best sellers, you will find Miss Reba at #s 1,2,3,6,7,21,22,23,24 & 25.
I might have over looked them and if I did it was not an intentional mistake, but I could not find a single Dixie Chick album WalMarts Top 100.
Note: I can't find the page I was on last night and I REALLY regret not having a URL to source, but I will stand by the above figures even though the ratings and the format on the WalMart Website have changed a lot. I did a search for the Dixie Chicks there and then clicked on a "Top Sellers" link on that page. Darn it next time I will save the link anyway no matter how easy it was to find
In any event the slur towards Reba McEntire was not necessary, unless the intent was to burn all bridges.
In AllAboutCountry an article stated.
The Chicks will perform on "The Late Show with David Letterman" tonight. AND, they will be featured on "Good Morning America" every morning this week (starting this morning), and ending with their performance of three songs live in Bryant Park in New York City, on Friday morning.
Which means the studio is pulling out all stops to the album's position in the Charts, BUT
Ironically, the Dixie Chicks are NOT involved at all, with "The 41st Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards" on CBS-TV tomorrow night...even though it airs on the same day that the new Chicks CD is released...and therefore are essentially competing with The ACM Awards for media attention. Coincidence? Hmmmm...
They make the transition to another Music or they are no longer the Dixie Chicks, but the Dead Ducks.
Like I said in the beginning of this post if the idea was to return to their former status and they WERE at the very top, This album should not have been named Taking the Long Way, but Taking the Wrong Way.
I just saw todays USA TODAY in the plant cafeteria. Say what you will, USA TODAY is a very popular Flyover Land News venue. The Frontpage has a noticeable absence of the Dixie Chicks BUT it does have a lead in for American Idol. ;-)
So I headed over to the Life section. No Dixie Chicks, American Idol AND todays Hot Story on Music?
Opening night with Madonna: The inside scoop
Madonna kicked off her Confessions Tour Sunday night at The Forum in Los Angeles. USA TODAY's Edna Gundersen was there to give you the inside scoop.
The music: The beat-crazy energy seldom flags in a highly polished two-hour show subdivided into Equestrian, Bedouin, Never Mind the Bullocks and Disco sections, though it's the heady pulse of dance music, fortified by a sharp band, that dominates throughout. The rhythm-driven bonanza plucks nine of its 22 songs from Madonna's sweaty Confessions on a Dance Floor album, and the new tunes hold up well live, especially Sorry, Jump and I Love New York. Latter-day hits eclipse classics, with the shimmery Ray of Light and boisterous Music easily outshining a tinny Lucky Star. Madonna is as fit vocally as physically, effortlessly nailing tender passages or a demanding upper register after strenuous bump-and-grind workouts.
STIRRING UP CONTROVERSY: Catholic League angered over crucifixion act during concert
Not the Stirring up controversy, I was expecting.
The Dixie Chicks do not seem to be impacting on Americana with a Bang, but a Yawn.
I FOUND the Link from last night!
Albums by related artists. to Dixie Chicks. So by going to Dixie Chicks and the clicking on Recommended Artists is how I ended up on a page dominated by Reba McEntire.
I am beginning to wonder if I have stumbled into an alternate Universe at times. I just finished looking over an article by J. Freedom du Lac in the Washington Post. Dixie Chicks Leave Their Old Country
This part threw me for a loop.
Especially if you're listening to the album's centerpiece single, "Not Ready to Make Nice." The song opens as something of a dirge, with Maines quietly cooing: "Forget? Sounds good/Forgive? I'm not sure I could." It unfolds slowly, almost politely, but there's no mistaking the group's mood once the defiant chorus kicks in: "I'm not ready to make nice, I'm not ready to back down/I'm still mad as hell . . . can't bring myself to do what it is that you think I should."
Take that , Toby Keith!
But wait, there's more on what's likely to stand as one of the best songs of 2006.
Say what? one of the best songs of 2006 a song that as a single PEAKED at #32 in Adult Contemporary and #36 in Hot Country Songs????
How bad does a song have to bomb before this author would not think of it as "one of the best songs of 2006"????????