The source for the controversy that has been surrounding the band, the Dixie Chicks, and has forever changed the image and role of this band in the music industry, possibly for the rest of their careers, can be pin-pointed to the date of March 10, 2003 when the group performed at Shepherd's Bush Empire, a nightclub in London, England. The United States was on the eve of war, and three women making up the Dixie Chicks (Emily Robison, Natalie Maines, and Martie Maguire) who had been following the European coverage of the war while on tour, felt at odds as musicians about to put on a show, while as Americans their country was on the brink of something much larger and important. Lead singer Natalie Maines expressed in that she knew she felt the need to let the London audience (who had undoubtedly also heard the news, as there were multiple ant-war rallies occurring in London during the time) know that they weren't completely oblivious to what was happening in the world outside the concert venue, when it came time to introduce their song “Traveling Soldier”—since it now held much more relevance to current events, though the song's about a soldier in the Vietnam war.
[...] Even though it's obvious that there's going to be a little pain or anger on their part derived from those events, Jon Pareles of the New York Times makes a note The Dixie Chicks sound determined not to whine on “Taking the Long and they focus on personal reactions, not protests. The album is a defiant autobiography of their career, and Ready to Make Nice” mentions the death threats after the Incident. But until it does, the song could be about the resentment following any breakup or betrayal.” Still, he admits that while listening the Incident continues to lie under the surface of the rest of the songs on the album describing the “country's mandolin and pedal steel guitar of “Everybody Knows” as carrying the line the things I can't erase from my life/Everybody Knows” as a confession, and notes the comfort or refuge the Chicks reference finding in their loved one when “Anger plays on every station” and “Answers only cause more questions” in “Easy Silence.” Another thing that was immediately obvious to reviewers, was that the new album had a different sound than previous releases from the band. [...]
[...] (The Dixie Chicks Controversy) By the 14th, the AP had another report announcing that radio stations had begun dropping the Dixie Chicks from their playlists, as well as setting up trash cans outside stations to throw cd's away and organizing anti-Chicks events hiring bulldozers to roll over recordings, or in Louisiana “Dixie Chicks Destruction had tractors running over cd's and kids stomping on them. (Norris; Radio and Records- trade Journal) Within days, songs from the Chicks' album, disappeared from American airwaves. [...]
[...] So it could be possible that if the Dixie Chicks continue to write as much material on their following albums, that the album content will still have possibilities of being interpreted as political messages in the songs, but it's my belief that the content of this album came from an obvious source of inspiration (the controversy they lived in for three years during the making of this album) and gave the band something to write about. Likewise, the majority of the songs on the record are simply about what was going on at the time in the three members' lives—having children, losing friends, dealing with a grandmother's Alzheimer's (all subjects of other songs on the album). [...]
[...] Hard” included two symbolic references to rights, and one to freedom, while Ready to Make Nice” also had two symbolic references to civil liberties/rights, and one to freedom. Analysis: What I found from doing this analysis on each of the six songs was that there weren't really many overtly stated references to any of the political subjects, or even opinions on them, if they were used in a song. Whenever these themes would appear in the songs, it was more often than not stated indirectly, leaving it up to the listener's interpretation to decide what message they wanted to take away from it. [...]
[...] In fact, I believe that most of the reason the songs are interpreted the way they are is because of the political context and scrutiny within which their entire career has been placed in, where at this point they're making headlines for their opinions, the organizations or events they take part in, what they might say in an interview, and basically any other reasons besides the music, giving the general public a certain impression of them as women and as a band without being based on their music or its content, so with only a general knowledge one might have of hearing them mentioned in the news, or from a friend, knowing that they don't like the president, it seems more likely that taking that initial impression with you into the song certain parts are bound to strike the listener in a more politicized context. [...]
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