The Liberal Country Music Fan

Welcome to the Liberal Country Music Fan blog. Life sometimes gets a bit Blue for us country music fans on the Left. With any luck, this blog will provide a home and a voice to us Roosevelt-lovin' Rednecks. It'll be our "Big Blue Note".

Monday, May 22, 2006

Dixie Chicks Struggling in Radio Charts, Successful in Time Magazine Covers

The Dixie Chicks tomorrow release their new album, Taking the Long Way. As such, you can pretty much call this Dixie Chicks Week on Liberal Country Fan.

To start out the week, the Billboard wire service has published an article that suggests that the Chicks are finished on country radio. According to the article, the first two singles off the album, “Not Ready to Make Nice” and “Everybody Knows”, have peaked at No. 36 and No. 50, respectively, on the Billboard country singles chart. Granted, these are disappointing figures, but the article also reveals that “Not Ready to Make Nice” peaked at No. 32 on adult contemporary charts. This last statistic somewhat negates the entire premise of the article. Since “Not Ready to Make Nice” achieved approximately the same peak on country and adult contemporary charts, one cannot conclude that the Chicks have a “seemingly growing” rift with country radio. Instead, what these statistics show is that “Not Ready to Make Nice” simply was not a good choice for a single, at least in the context of commercial radio success. It's definitely not the Chicks' best song ever (my personal review). In addition, given that the song is about as far from happy-go-lucky as possible and has no romantic content at all, I am not surprised that it was not a runaway hit with the average radio listener. Moreover, the song’s rather intense and angry lyrics probably made it even less popular among radio station program directors, who understandably don’t like to piss off their listeners. In fact, the article quotes a Miami radio station program director who was quite upset at the group’s decision to release “Not Ready to Make Nice” as their first single:
“[I was] stunned, especially in light of the fact that, when asked, programmers and consultants that listened to the project were virtually unanimous in saying we should put the politics behind us and concentrate on all this other great music we were hearing."
Did Natalie, Emily, and Martie make a stupid decision with "Not Ready to Make Nice", or did they have a plan? My money's on the latter because one thing is very clear about the Chicks' choice for their first single: it may not have been the best song for radio, but it was certainly a boon for generating other types of publicity. Namely, the song's controversial content helped place the Chicks square on the cover of this week’s Time Magazine. Could Natalie and crew have sacrificed a little radio play for a lot print play (not to mention a 60 Minutes interview)? I definitely wouldn’t put it past them, and I definitely wouldn’t put a death date on their country radio tombstone either.

I have not yet heard “Everybody Knows” and I’ll reserve my judgement on its radio potential until tomorrow, when my copy of Taking the Long Way shows up at my digital doorstop (via iTunes).


  • At 10:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The sainted Johnny Cash had something to say about CountryRadio :)


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