If I Fall, You’re Going Down with Me (9/18/99) #31a US, #3 CW
Cold Day in July (5/20/00) #57a US, #10 CW
Heartbreak Town (6/30/01) #23 CW
Some Days You Gotta Dance (9/29/01) #53a US, #7 CW
Previous Dixie Chicks album Wide Open Spaces, “a blend of turn-of-the-century pop and country traditionalism” (Cantwell), bore the distinction of sales that were “the highest ever by a country group” (Dinoia), a number in excess of 12 million as of this writing. With such lofty heights, “it’s reasonable to have pretty imposing expectations of their…[follow-up] album. But Fly delivers” (Dinoia).
“Rather than deliver more of the same, the Chicks have chosen instead to up the ante in country radio with a follow-up that's both poppier and twangier than its predecessor, and just plain better too. Some of it we’ve heard before: Hello Mr. Heartache, for example, adheres pretty closely to the honky-tonk model of Tonight the Heartache’s on Me” (Cantwell).
“Mostly, though, the record lights out for new territories. Without You is driven by an in-your-face string arrangement that’s downright fierce, and the rootsy Sin Wagon may rock harder – and with more solos – than any mainstream country since Buck Owens held forth” (Cantwell).
“From the first track, the ebullient Ready to Run, to the final track, the wistful Let Him Fly, the Chicks know how to belt out a tune with confidence and flair and have a good time doing it” (Dinoia). “When you watch Natalie Maines, Martie Seidel, and Emily Erwin being interviewed on TV or performing in front of an audience, they always look like they are having a blast. And that fun shines through in their songs, particularly in Goodbye Earl, a song about spousal abuse and getting even. If someone like Patty Loveless or Faith Hill sang it, it’d seem silly, but with Natalie’s sassy vocals and Emily and Martie’s spirited harmonies, it’s just good, plain ol’ fun” (Dinoia). Of course, one could also argue that the song “fails because it can’t decide if it's a moral lesson, a horror movie, or a joke. Still, …the Chicks are bravely pushing the envelope. If they push hard enough, maybe Young Country radio will open up some wider spaces” (Cantwell).