The Chicks are here with their latest album titled Gaslighter. In June 2020, the band changed their name by dropping ‘Dixie’ which referenced the American Mason–Dixon line, separating the free and slave-owning southern states. With a title like Gaslighter, it is easy to assume the trio’s comeback studio album (after 14 years) is on fire.
For the unversed, gaslighter is a term often used to describe President Donald Trump. This album marks their eager re-entry into a culture war that’s grown only more heated. The pop bands last studio album was Taking the Long Way in 2006. This album addressed the fallout from singer Natalie Maines’ public criticism of President George W. Bush. It was also the winner of five Grammy Awards that year including album of the year.
Gaslighter is intensely personal and has apparently been inspired by Maines’ 2019 divorce. In the title track, ‘Gaslighter’ and ‘Sleep at Night’ Natalie lays out an ex’s deception in brutal detail. Set Me Free is all about the “the weight of this hate” where she pleads with the guy to sign the required papers already. In sensual ‘Texas Man,’ Maines looks past the pain of betrayal and longs for a fellow from her native state “who can feel at home here in the California sand.”
One of the most gratifying aspects of Gaslighter is its importance on the concerns of middle age. In ‘Young Man,’ Maines tenderly sings about explaining her ex’s misdeeds to her two sons. ‘Hope It’s Something Good’ describes the singer’s attempts to busy herself in a newly empty home.
Produced by Jack Antonoff said the album sounds sleek but homey with a banjo and fiddle mix with keyboards and programmed percussion behind the Chicks’ crisp vocal harmonies.