"Gaslighter," the lead single from their upcoming album of the same name, is a fiery anthem inspired by divorce.
The Dixie Chicks are finally back and they're better than ever. Natalie Maines, Emily Robison, and Martie Maguire released their first song since 2016 on Wednesday and fans of the country-pop trio couldn't be happier. "Gaslighter," the lead single from their upcoming album of the same name, is a fiery anthem inspired by divorce—Maines' recent divorce, to be specific. The 45-year-old holds nothing back as she takes front and center in the new song, singing about her prolonged legal battle to separate from her ex-husband Adrian Pasdar.
According to Rolling Stone, co-written and produced by Jack Antonoff—who frequently collaborates with Taylor Swift—the "Gaslighter" music video was directed by Seanne Farmer. While Maines, Robison, and Maguire sing about lies and gaslighting in a marriage in the song, their outfits, and the historical and political imagery plays in the video lend it an unmissable military-esque tone. According to Variety, the 13-time Grammy winners also spoke to Zane Lowe on Wednesday, during which they discussed the long layoff from recording since their Taking the Long Way album came out in 2006.
"Our nine kids collectively are why we paused for so long and finding out that teenagers are a lot harder than babies," explained Maguire. "Babies take you off the road, teenagers put you back," Maines added as the trio laughed. The group revealed that unlike their previous album, "Gaslighter" will not involve a rotating team of co-writer-producers. "The first song we wrote with Jack Antonoff. At the time we thought we thought we were gonna write with a bunch of different people and get different producers, and we wrote it with him," said Robison, adding that after working with Antonoff, "we were like, he needs to produce it and this needs to be the sound for this album. He blew us away."
Talking about their comeback after so many side or solo projects, Robison revealed that it was their tour in 2016 that motivated them to get back. "We’re definitely out of practice... It’s just as painful as it was to do all the artwork, and we check our own typesetting and we do all of that and it’s a little bit nerve-wracking, and now I’m remembering 15 years ago, the last time we did it," she added. According to Entertainment Weekly, Maines previously revealed during an episode of the Spiritualgasm podcast that the new album was inspired by her divorce from actor Adrian Pasdar.
"I had a lot to say. Songwriting is really hard for me, and I think for many years, I didn’t want to analyze my life or my relationship. I was just in it and dedicated and devoted, and if I had started writing songs about it... I don’t want to say I was in a ‘survival mode,’ but I was just not ready to open up like that," she said at the time. The Dixie Chicks recently featured in Taylor Swift's Netflix documentary Miss Americana, in which the 30-year-old singer opened up about how the group's exile from the country music space affected her personally.
This makes me very happy. Good job, ladies. Passing on to you a meaningful comment I recently received from a fan...”You did it for us. For us.” You talented artists have the legitimacy you deserve and we will happily support you. XXOO, KG @dixiechicks #GASLIGHTER https://t.co/IX9xwHWdBc— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) March 4, 2020
The exile followed a controversial statement by Maines on May 10, 2003, while on stage performing at a London venue. Speaking to the audience about the then-President George W. Bush and the U.S. invasion of Iraq, she said, "We don't want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas." This comment sparked intense boycotts of their music from conservatives and supporters of Bush, reaching a point where the Dixie Chicks were blacklisted from radio stations.
Referencing this cancel culture in Miss Americana, Swift said, "Part of the fabric of being a country artist is, 'Don't force your politics on people. Let people live their lives.' That is grilled into us. Throughout my whole career, label executives and publishers would just say, 'Don't be like the Dixie Chicks.' And I loved the Dixie Chicks. But a nice girl doesn't force their opinions on people, a nice girl smiles and waves and says 'thank you,' a nice girl doesn't make people feel uncomfortable with her views."
When The Comment™️ was made by Natalie, I remember my dad telling me but I didn’t think much of it. But it very quickly became a big deal — even in the world of a 12 year old. It was wild y’all. They were HATED in Texas.— Lauren Baker -TX PRIMARY IS MARCH 3rd! (@LBakerTX) March 4, 2020
Friends told me they would no longer listen to the @dixiechicks. Asked me if I still liked them/ how could I? Only people who hated America could like them. People held rallies to smash their cd’s. My math teacher put me on blast in class once asking if I stomped on my cd. WILD.— Lauren Baker -TX PRIMARY IS MARCH 3rd! (@LBakerTX) March 4, 2020