The Dixie Chicks took the long way around to releasing new music, but they’re finally back.
After an extended 14-year break, the legendary country pop trio has returned with their new single “Gaslighter,” released on Wednesday ahead of the eighth studio album of the same name due May 1.
Co-written and produced with Jack Antonoff, “Gaslighter” shows that Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Martie Maguire have no plans on making nice anytime soon. The aptly titled empowerment anthem is a classic Dixie Chicks revenge tale, as the song takes aim at a man whose lies chip away at the foundation of a marriage.
“Gaslighter, I’m your mirror / Standing right here until you can see how / You broke me / Yeah, I’m broken,” Maines sings about a nasty divorce in her signature searing vocals. “You’re still sorry and there’s still no apology.”
In the accompanying video directed by Seanne Farmer, the Chicks suit up in military outfits as they ready for battle against a good-for-nothing-guy.
The song was inspired by the end of the Maines’ own relationship to “Heroes” actor Adrian Pasdar in 2017. The former couple, who share two sons, split after 17 years of marriage and were locked in a prolonged legal battle over spousal support.
Last year, Pasdar reportedly requested that the court allow him access to all of Maines’ unreleased music, claiming the contents of the songs could violate a confidentiality clause in their prenuptial agreement. The two finally settled the divorce last year.
“When I started getting a divorce, I had a lot to say. That sparked me being ready [for new music],” Maines said in an interview with the “Spiritualgasm” podcast last year. “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, that might not have been good. I don’t want to say I was in a ‘survival mode,’ it wasn’t like that, but I was just not ready to open up like that.”
“And then when my relationship fell apart, so I had a lot to say,” she added. “Our last album was the most personal and autobiographical we’d ever been. And then this one is 10 times that.”
Since the release of their Grammy-winning 2006 album “Taking the Long Way,” both of Maines’ bandmates, Robison and Maguire, also got divorced from their respective spouses. The former has since remarried.
Once blacklisted from country radio for Maines’ anti-Iraq War stance, the Dixie Chicks returned to the charts in 2019, assisting Taylor Swift with background vocals on her solemn “Lover” track, “Soon You’ll Get Better,” about her mother’s ongoing cancer battle.