Country music typically isn't perceived as heartwrenching, but in country pop's early days, it was a different story. Dolly Parton laid her heart out in Jolene, singing woeful love ballads above charming country guitars that would come to help define country - and music - forever.
The first thing to note about Jolene is how real it feels. It's honest and straight to the point, evident right from the start with opening track 'Jolene.' It's pure desperation-turned-obsession as Parton continually begs a woman she believes is more attractive - Jolene - to not steal her husband from her, repeating her name more and more with every verse and chorus. Her love feels even more torn in the woefully optimistic 'When Someone Wants To Leave,' while it becomes more wishful in 'River Of Happiness.' It seems she's caught in a place of eternal worry, in love but fearing she could lose it at any moment.
Parton's undying commitment to her love is intense, almost to a fault. Her love seems to get the better of her and eats away at her, not letting her appreciate what she has without the fear it'll slip out of her hands. 'Lonely Comin' Down' anticipates this, its sad vibe made all the more emotional with her powerful vocals. There are moments on the record that do let the love flourish and she does step away from the idea that she could lose it all: namely, the famous 'I Will Always Love You,' which is a quiet, sweet song that is both gentle in the present and warmly reflective.
Dolly Parton laid her heart out in Jolene, pleading for her love to never leave. It's a heartbreaking album, though its one you can't help but feel for. It's desperate, but effective in the emotions it tries to get across.
Favorite Tracks: Jolene, Lonely Comin' Down, I Will Always Love You
Least Favorite Track: Early Morning Breeze
Rating: 77 / 100
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