That the Dixie Chicks are still considered radical -- and by such a fluffy, mainstream publication as Time -- for saying three years ago that they were embarrased by the president, a sentiment now shared by the majority of Americans, is disheartening. That they've finally decided to embrace this label and thumb their noses at the country music establishment is pretty damn cool.
Although I'm not a fan of today's popular country music (which, for the most part, is complete musical crap), I've loved the Dixie Chicks since the first time I heard "Wide Open Spaces." I own all their albums, including their latest -- a gutsy and thorough declaration of independence from the vapidity and jingoisim that currently passes for music in Nashville.
I like the new album well enough, but what I really like is that these girls are not fucking around. They've made a conscious decision to create the kind of music they want to create and to speak their minds, regardless of the impact this has on their ability to sell records. Said one of the chicks, "I'd rather have a smaller following of really cool people who get it, who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith. We don't want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do." In other words, "Fuck you if you don't like us. We'd be insulted if you did."
I guess that attitude is pretty radical, and I like the Dixie Chicks more for it. If record sales are any indication, so do a lot of other people. Apparently that following of really cool people isn't as small as they thought.