Tag Archives: Jolene

Day 200: Dolly Parton – Jolene

16 Sep


Anyone familiar with Jack White knows that Jolene is an obvious choice for both White Week and Swole Ear’s 200th album.  A staple of The White Stripe’s live performances, Jack’s rendition of the heartbreaking title track is one of the greatest live performances in history.  White’s version is so good, in fact, that I always find the Parton version a bit disappointing.  Its tempo is too fast, and Dolly just doesn’t put as much into it as Jack.

The rest of this record follows suit.  I just can’t get into Jolene as a whole.  Yes, part of that is due to my dislike of the vast majority of cliché country music, but there’s something else going on here.

After listening to the album, I find myself tempted to give Dolly Parton the same advice that I gave to Bethany Cosetino of Best Coast.  Don’t let dudes control your life!  From the title track, where she begs a prettier woman to stay away from her man, to Highlight of My Life, which is about exactly what you’re thinking, nearly every song is about Parton’s doomed relationships, heartache, and even more obnoxiously, the stories where love actually works out in the end.

However, I must say that for a cliché country record, the instrumentation is about as good as you can get.  There’s plenty of good ol’ twangy guitar, both acoustic and steel. That stuff is irresistible regardless of your musical preferences.

Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough redeeming about the record for me to give it another listen.  The fact that I Will Always Love You is on it certainly doesn’t help its cause.  I’m glad that I gave it a listen, though—this is an important piece of Jack White-lore.