This is a new feature that I’m trying, focusing on extremely big albums that had a big impact on country music — albums that were major for their respective artists or a breakthrough in some way. For this edition, I’ll be discussing Fly, by the Dixie Chicks!
So why am I calling this album “legendary”? Well, as of now it’s not. However, I really think it will be someday, so here’s why:
-It’s certified as a Diamond album (Shipped 10 million units) in the U.S.
-Has many defining songs for the group (“Cowboy Take Me Away”)
-Had 5 top-10 country singles (Two #1’s), 8 singles total
-Is an amazing album
Unfortunately, in the future it will probably not be remembered over the Chick’s next album, Home, which is a masterpiece, but this album deserves to be remembered years from now. Any album that sells diamond is big, even though it’s impossible to do now, but this album is so good that it merits that level of success. I was only 7 when this album was big, but I remember hearing all the songs on the radio because my parents were huge Chicks fans at the time. “Cowboy Take Me Away” was always playing in our house — it became ingrained in my mind.
I never heard of the album again (due to my parents shelving the Chicks after the incident; they still won’t listen to them) until 2 years ago when I saw the music video for “Goodbye Earl” on CMT one day. Then I rooted around for the CD, found it, and eagerly listened to it. I discovered a wonderful contemporary country album, done right — unlike most current albums. The album felt like an old friend that I hadn’t seen in a while, since I had heard it so many times.
This album manages to balance being commercial, country, artistic and successful, to great success in my opinion. The singing is top-notch,and the production is perfectly engaging, but not distracting — it still sounds good after 10 years!
Now, here’s a poll of all the singles from this album. I want you to pick your favorite:
My favorite was very difficult to pick, but I had to choose “Heartbreak Town”, although by tomorrow I’m sure I’ll pick something different. I didn’t understand this song for the longest time, but then I got it: “It’s talking about Nashville!” I thought to myself one day. After that “revelation” (I could have just looked it up online, but that takes all the fun out of it!), all the lyrics fell into place: the struggle to get noticed, the crushing failure, and the toll it takes on loved ones. I guess that explains why the single only went to #23. It’s very critical of the music industry. I think “Goodbye Earl” would be my second favorite, with “Without You” right behind it — it’s just a very strong album in general. Sadly, my favorite track off the album was never a single, namely the Patty Griffin-written “Let Him Fly”. I don’t think it would have been a good single anyway, but it’s a great slow song.
So what do you think? Does this album deserve to be legendary? What about the singles? Do you prefer the album cuts?
Also, any feedback on this feature would be greatly appreciated, especially with regard to future albums that could be used — please post any ideas here.