New Music Reviews

Dolly Parton’s World on Fire: I Cried During This Song

I know…not the wittiest headline, but I didn’t know how else to sum up this new track from Dolly. When she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame she said that she now had to make a rock album. Now comes Rockstar a 4 LP…that’s right…4 LPs…new record that promises a metric ton of guest artists. Putting together a 4 LP album has me thinking that Dolly was being a bit cheeky and probably was well into the record when she announced it at the hall of fame. I was talking to Mrs. Jukebox, another huge Dolly fan, about this record and we agreed that it can either be amazing or a total disaster. If World on Fire is anything to go by, I am very hopeful.

Let’s get the elephant in the room dealt with, how is Dolly at rock? Well, it is a little up and down. She has always had a rock personality. Dolly stood up for herself and was unapologetically taking on men in power and being on the edge of social issues and pushing country music. In that sense, the jump to rock is not too far. Having said that, the guitar and percussion on this track seem dated and relies too heavily on tropes. It’s not bad, but I would have liked something more modern…like some Jack White style lo – fi or some Royal Blood guitar napalm. Having said all of that, it is very serviceable and will satisfy your rock gene.

Ok. There is also an end to the song that is a bit forgettable…but that’s not the point. Fine….there is a beginning and an end to the track…great…we are done with that now. Let’s get to the bridge. Oh my…that bridge. I think the bridge in this song is the best piece of music Dolly has recorded in the last 10 – 15 years. I cried when I heard it. The paint by numbers rock transforms into this spiritual, rock / gospel wall of sound with Dolly just belting out messages of hope and love. She was really going for it. As a side note, her vocals on this entire track are really well done. The production is crystal clear, her range is quite good and she is really going for it. I think this mix of spiritual gospel and rock is the fresh new sound I was craving with this track. No lie, I listened to just the bridge at least 20 times in a row. It’s epic nature, warmth, honesty and genuine love is a spiritual experience. I adore the bridge in this song and it is a bold choice by Dolly and the producer to take such a departure in the track, but it is exactly what it needs. A stroke of genius.

Judging by the track list on Rockstar, this track may be indicative of the record as a whole…which is up and down. We have some safe and well worn rock tropes with this fresh, incredible and inspirational bridge. Having said that, I am very excited for a record that promises some of the best Dolly tracks we have heard in years.

Listen to World on Fire

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