Song: Not Ready To Make Nice
Artist: Dixie Chicks
Album: Taking The Long Way
I love this goddamn song!
Quick back story: I grew up around a bunch of cowboys. Actually, they're horsemen, but it's nearly the same thing. Both groups listen to non-stop country music, so needless to say, I heard a whole lot of The Chicks on the odd day that I showed up to a barn to do an honest days work. I liked'em - nice harmonies, played their own instruments which won points with me and the lead singer seemed kinda spunky. I liked that.
By now, I'm assuming everyone knows about the whole backlash thing that happened with the Dixie Chicks at the start of the "War" in Iraq. That spunky lead singer - Natalie Maines - was standing on stage at Shepard's Bush Empire in London and said she was ashamed George Bush was from Texas, their home state. Some folks didn't like that very much and boycotted the Dixie Chicks. And by some people, I mean a large portion of the people who helped make them who they were and country radio throughout the States. You can get the whole story - from beginning to end, both of which took place at Shepard's Bush Empire - on the terrific DVD Shut Up and Sing.
So basically, the girls took a bunch of time off following the backlash, eventually got back in the studio (with super producer Rick Rubin of all people) and made Taking The Long Way, a terrific album from top to bottom, though no other song comes near this one.
I like people who stick to their convictions.
I like people who are willing to look their detractors in the eye and give them the middle finger.
I like when people set that middle finger to music and express themselves lyrically.
Dammit I like this song!
Chances are you know the chorus to this song, since Canada never really turned their collective backs on the Dixie Chicks following the whole Bush thing and radio here played the hell outta this song - for good reason. The lyric that I have always loved the most though is this one:
I made my bed, and I sleep like a baby,
With no regrets and I don't mind saying,
It's a sad sad story
That a mother will teach her daughter
that she ought to hate a perfect stranger.
And how in the world
Can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they'd write me a letter
Saying that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over
There is so much truth in those words that I don't know where to start. First - there is no remorse with Maines, the chief lyricist for the group. It's strictly "I said what I said and I still stand by it." Then comes the sad, sad truth. This isn't hyperbole either; they really did receive death threats simply because they didn't agree with what George Bush was doing and voiced that opinion. This is why I get so fired up over things like the Kelly Tilghman situation from earlier this year... People can put way too much stock into one simple word.
Anyway - this song resonated with me from the first time I heard it and it still sends chills up my spine when it gets to the building crescendo noted lyrically above. It picks up and picks up and picks up and.... (strings erupt)
This is what music should be - messages, opinions, stances. Not this bubble gum bullshit "Piece of Me" crap that saturates the airwaves.
Oh yeah: it could also be that this is exactly how I feel whenever some family member I have barely spoken to in the last eight years tells me it's time for me to make up with my father. That might have a little to do with it too...