Thursday, April 20, 2006 

Dixie Chicks - Not Ready To Make Nice

The Dixie Chicks might be a country act but they sure ain't boring, y'all! In 2003 they caused controversy when they criticised George Bush. It all began at a concert in London when singer Natalie said "Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas" - the remark was mentioned in a review in the Guardian and quickly picked up by US press. Madness ensued as fans and radio stations boycotted their music and there was even a mass bull-dozing of their CDs! They gained support from Madonna and appeared on front of an American magazine almost naked with the names they had been called printed on their bodies. Finally Bush responded saying that he didn't really care and they were free to speak their mind - rather a contrast to the reactions of his supporters. The girls had upset many of their conservative American fans but won respect from many people who felt the same or just supported their right to free speech. The band have been making music for only a couple of years less than I've been alive but they look pretty sprightly for their age and their 7th album, released last month, has wielded this surprisingly excellent song. It's their response to the George Bush debacle, and the lyrics (including my favourite - "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?") and video are pretty interesting in that respect. It retains the country style of singing but there's definitely a more commercial approach, and I know they worked with Rick Rubin (producer who has recently worked with Shakira and Justin Timberlake). There's something really poignant and stirring about this song in both the lyrics and its overall sound, so forget about the country and give it a chance!

Thursday, April 13, 2006 

Vanilla Ninja - Dangerzone

This is the brand new single by Vanilla Ninja, their first with only 3 members and with a new manager replacing David Brandes, who they cut ties with when his bulk-buying of the music of the acts he worked with (also including German singer Gracia) caused them to be banned from the German charts for 3 months! You may know Vanilla Ninja from their appearance in last year's Eurovision representing Switzerland, although they are actually Estonian. This single comes from their fourth album Love Is War and despite David Brandes claiming their career is over and their new management are amateurs (no bias there at all, I'm sure), I think it's a great song. It's not a huge departure from their earlier work but it's catchy and I prefer it to many of the other singles they have made in a rocky style (they began as more of a pop act). I hope they can prove their old manager wrong and continue to be one of Europe's most popular female acts. Meanwhile, original Vanilla Ninja member Maarja is soon to release a solo single named Could You, which you can find out more about here.

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