April 04, 2006 at 02:00 PM EDT

I enjoy the Dixie Chicks’ vocal harmonies, I appreciate their songwriting craft, and I applaud their unrepentant defiance. But I’m annoyed by their newfound pretentiousness.

The song ”Not Ready to Make Nice” is pretty self-explanatory, but the new video, which debuted Friday at AOL Music, is full of stale, self-dramatizing touches. The Chicks dress themselves in black-and-white ballgowns that make them look like refugees from Truman Capote’s famous 1966 party, and there’s a lot of splashing paint, an effect that became a music-video cliché back around 1983. Then there’s all the grim-faced inquisitors and stern-faced authority figures who tut-tut their way through the clip.

Yes, Chicks, the reaction to your 2003 remarks was severe, but y’all aren’t martyrs. Last I checked, you were still millionaires who are free to say what you like and record what you please. I’m not asking you not to be outspoken, just not to be dull.

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