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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Long Way **Updated**

Yesterday marked the much-anticipated release of the Dixie Chicks' follow-up to their Top-selling 2002 hit "Home." First, let me say that I've loved the Chicks since I saw their ballsy performance at the 1999 Lilith Fair. The latest release, "Taking the Long Way" is no disappointment.

They totally rock-out in this album with a new style that one-ups their previous ground-breaking efforts. Critics have compared some of their songs to The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and Sheryl Crow but I think that's only part of it. We're always trying to classify music into neat little categories. I don't think this piece of work can be classified.

There's a folksy/rock sound of the title track "The Long Way Around," which includes such sassy lyrics as "I met the queen of whatever, drank with the irish, and smoked with the hippies. Moved with the shakers. Wouldn't kiss all the asses that they told me to."

Next the girls move into a rock-pop love-song, "Easy Silence," which drives through strings and beautiful vocals that remind me of a more-refined Jewel piece.

The third, and most talked-about, track is the controversial "Not Ready to Make Nice." Which needs no more explanation except to say "Bravo! You girls Rock!"

"Everybody Knows," is an Fleetwood Mac-esque rock song with bluesy organ, country-style mandolin and steel guitar complementing the melody.

Then, there's an unexpected Bar-rousing song ("Bitter End"): It's got a nice slow and swinging waltz that make you where you feel like raising your Guinness and singing along "Farewell to old friends, Let's raise a glass to the bitter end, Farewell to old friends, Will you forgive me when I see you again."

The sixth track, Lullaby is just that; a sweet, simple lullaby sung by Natalie with breathy backing vocals by Emily and Martie that drifts off into the very calming string arrangement. My only beef here is the song order...

Next is the rocked-out rebel yell of "Lubbock or Leave It." Which thumbs its nose at the "Crucifix Skyline" mentioned in the song. A southern born and bred boy myself, I can definitely relate to the hypocrisy in the "Dust bowl, Bible belt. Got more churches than trees. Raise me, praise me, couldn't save me. Couldn't keep me on my knees."

The momentum is maintained in the rocker "Silent House" about Natalie's grandmother who has Alzheimer's, but it doesn't sound pitiful. It has a very Sheryl Crow feel to it, though she doesn't show up as a co-writer until the next track, "Favorite Year," which also rocks with a "first cut is the deepest"-esque melody. Both are radio-worthy keepers!

Ok, sorry to cut this short, with 5 more tracks to go, but I was only able to get the first 9 tracks into my iPod before jetting out of the house this a.m., but I think you get the picture. This album is the culmination of many musical styles that will definitely entertain. It is no country album! Let me repeat that. It is NO country album!

Hell, even if you don't like their music, but want to send a big F.U. to the radio stations who refuse to play it (thanks to their highly-republican Bush-loving executives), buy the album! Show 'em what $$$ they are missing out on!


Ok, I got the rest of the songs loaded on my iPod...

Track 10 is co-written by the perpetually stoned Linda Perry (of Four Non-Blondes fame) who co-wrote much of Pink's Missunderstood CD. This organic folksy-rock piece has a great rambling melody. Could very well be recorded by Sheryl Crow, but it has a great feeling to it.

"I Like It," Is VERY southern bluesy rock with a great hook. The girls seem to be having some fun with this. The vocals are kind of Mama's and the Papa's but the music just rolls and showcases the band as well. Definitely an ensemble piece. I like it! heeheehee

Track 12 is "Baby Hold On" which is about the closest to traditional country that this cd gets. It's a beautiful love song about the family ("It’s a new day, Let’s look at all we’ve got, It’s everything we thought, We ever wanted, It’s beautiful") and a great reminder to cherish what you've got.

Speaking of family, the next song "So Hard" is about infertility and trying to have a baby (something which 2 of the 3 have had issues with). "And I’d feel so guilty, If that was a gift I couldn’t give, And could you be happy, If life wasn’t how we pictured it."

Finally, the Chicks wrap it up with the Keb 'Mo'-assisted "I Hope," which is probably one of my favorite songs. It deals with the hypocracy of the church and a hope for the future. Basically, they point out that though we are told "thou shalt not kill," yet we are supporting the war. The piece is poignant in its reminder that "Our children are watching us, They put their trust in us, They're gonna be like us." The music has a lazy weekend feel to it. . . You can almost hear it being sung by 'Ma in a rocking chair on the front porch, joined by the neighborhood gospel choir." Great way to end the CD, ladies. Love it!



At 5/26/2006 3:48 PM, Blogger honeykbee's whiny, bitch-ass comment is...

You say "perpetually stoned" as if this is a bad thing...?

At 5/30/2006 11:08 AM, Blogger Needtsza's whiny, bitch-ass comment is...

dixie chicks were on stern. Very good guests. cool chicks


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