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Taking the Long Way
Dixie Chicks


our score: 5 out of 5

Taking the Long Way
by: Maria Grella

The Dixie Chicks latest album, Taking The Long Way, is a very listenable compilation of songs, with great harmonies, good writing skills and beautiful melodies. It is the first album where they have co-written all tracks, and it was also the first of their albums to be recorded in L.A., rather than Nashville, as is traditional in country music. With the help of producer Rick Rubin (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash), the trio competently display their musical and writing capabilities. More personal than previous albums, the lyrics show a maturity and growth.

“The Long Way Around” is the opening track, and is a lyrically themed version of Robert Frost’s quintessential poem, “Road Less Traveled”. It is a personal song about how life could’ve been by taking the less difficult road; going on in the normal route of marrying your high school sweetheart, staying in same zip code and settling into family life. Instead, the path chosen was the uneasy, unworn trail, traveling toward an uncertain future. The bad side of fame is uncovered in “Everybody Knows”, though many can associate with the lyrics. It calls forth the inability to escape reputation; trying to be strong by putting on a brave face despite the pain of the past, but knowing th! at every one is aware of how you’re really feeling.

Stand out tracks include “Easy Silence”, “Not Ready To Make Nice”, and “Lullaby”. “Easy Silence” is a beautiful love song to the one who eases the chaos of the world by becoming your sanctuary for quiet peacefulness. The song is smooth and pleasant to listen to. The backlash following a comment about being ashamed President Bush is a fellow Texan is found in “Not Ready To Make Nice”. The tune shows that the D.C.’s still have lingering anger, and are not ready to forgive and forget. Politics continue in “Lubbock Or Leave It” in a more upbeat way. Recently featured on the season finale of Medium, “Lullaby” is a very pretty and calming lullaby and is also one of the best tracks on the album.

The “Bitter End” is a great concert closer, and unlike the title suggests, it has that sweet, sing-along chorus, as it bids farewell and goodbye to friends. Another upbeat song is “I Like It”, which has a Dixieland sound with a campy undertone. “Silent House” continues the trend of the pretty melody. “Voice Inside My Head” is your conscious speaking of lost love, while “Baby Hold On” is a love song, both with good vocals. Weak songs include the slow ballad “Favorite Year” and “So Hard”, which is easy to forget. The album’s closing track is “I Hope”; a mellow yet soulful song for a weary world and its problems. The repetitive words of ‘I hope’ within the chorus drives the song.

Being their first album since the infamous ‘ashamed’ comment on their 2003 Home tour, the Dixie Chicks have had to battle ill comments from former fans and foes. Though their country fans are mostly conservatives in the Midwest, one hopes that they don’t hold grudges and miss out on a beautifully crafted collection of songs. Now might be the perfect time to expand on their listener-ship, by crossing over into a more pop sound. Political aspects aside, the album as a whole should be given a chance for the simple fact that the Dixie Chicks, as a musical group an! d not po litical analysts, are successful in what they do. Taking The Long Way is a strong album that displays harmonies, musical talent and lyrics at the Dixie Chicks’ best.