Out of Touch

Out of touch

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

The Dixie Chicks are the top band this year winning five Grammy awards even though their peers in the country music genre shun them. If this is any indication of the state of music today, then we are headed for trouble.

According to Billboard, when the Dixie Chicks released their album last year it hit number one on its debut. It also should be noted that in 2002 their album Home debuted similarly, but their new album sales were 33% below Home. With CD sales down across the board this number is not unusual.

You could say in the days of the media blitz that the Dixie Chicks just got their timing right. Lead Dixie, Maines basically recalled her apology about GW, and then the non cross-eyed Dixie outlined the trendy "following" that she wanted all between 7 and 10 days before the album was released. A ton of attention from Time magazine to Larry King builds them up and the next thing you know they have a number one record.

Compare that to bands like Gnarls Barkley and the extremely popular song, “Crazy”. A few weeks ago while sitting at The Anchor Bar someone put “Crazy” on the jukebox. Looking around the room it was amazing how many people who were oblivious to the jukebox all of a sudden began to bop their heads and infectiously move to the beat. Sure no one put in a Dixie Chick song to make a true comparison, but I think it is safe to say that it would not have had the same effect.

While looking at Wikipedia it became evident that most people have not heard the Dixie Chicks new album, but everyone knows their controversy. The old adage that any press is good press worked well for the 3 country girls. Maguire was quoted in Time as saying, "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." Maines also took back her previous apology to George W. Bush, saying, "I apologized for disrespecting the office of the President, but I don't feel that way anymore. I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever.” While looking at Wikipedia it should also be known that almost one-half of their entire biography centers on the whole Bush thing. So a band that crossed over with “Earl” and country now shuns their fans, but wins a Grammy.

As a curiosity I went out and asked people what they thought of the Dixie Chicks new album as I have never heard a single song of theirs I can remember after “Earl”. The sad thing was that I asked over 20 people casually and none had heard a single song. When asked about other supposed popular bands of last year all had heard “Crazy”, and about half of the people had heard the Red Hot Chili Peppers new album. Are we out of touch in Duluth, or are the Grammy awards out of touch with the people?