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The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

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Dolly does it again

Dolly Parton releases new rock album
Fair+use+from+Big+Machine+Records
Fair use from Big Machine Records

Dolly Parton is a world renowned country artist who has been releasing music since 1967, and has only grown in popularity ever since. Her career is covered in hits from the last 56 years, and her 49th solo studio album “Rockstar,” released Nov. 17,  is no different. 

Although Parton has released a majority of country music, her new album starts with her talking about how she had always wanted to make rock music and was told no by her parents and peers, before unleashing an epic start to her album with the song “Rockstar.” Parton had been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2022 for her various songs and notoriety, but had declined because she said she makes country music, not rock. She decided to make this album because she wanted to create a rock album, but also so she could justify her admittance to the Hall of Fame to herself.

This album is littered with collaborations with various other artists, many of whom were big when she was creating most of her music in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but others are more modern artists. The album clocks in at 140 minutes of music, including 30 different songs and duets or trios with 31 different artists. Some of the more well recognized artists include Elton John, Paul Mccartney and Ringo Starr, P!nk and Brandi Carlile, Lizzo, Pat Benatar, Sting, Miley Cyrus and many others. 

The album contains many great new sounds and hits, while also covering a few songs that sound a little unnecessary and forced into the album. Her cover of “Wrecking Ball” with her Goddaughter Miley Cyrus is a shining example of where everything seemed to go right. Both Parton and Cyrus’s voices blend really well and the reworking of the instrumentals and the addition of Parton’s country twang add a lot to the song. Other areas like “Long As I Can See The Light” with John Fogerty and “Either Or” with Kid Rock are songs that are much more forgetful and only seem to add on to an already very long album. 

Parton does a great job of bringing in energy when she needs it with songs like “Magic Man (Carl Version)” with Ann Wilson of Heart and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” with P!nk and Brandi Carlile, which sound amazing and make you put them on repeat, while also reigning it in for a more respectful tribute to Prince in the song “Purple Rain.”

Parton goes on to do a nearly eight-minute long rendition of “Stairway To Heaven” with Lizzo on the flute, which has its own name and accredit as Sasha Flute. The first four minutes of the cover sound amazing with Lizzo’s solos and adlibs on flute and Parton’s brittle country twang, but it quickly starts to feel repetitive and almost makes you want to skip the rest of the song.

As well as covering many famous songs with various artists, she also releases a few original songs that are the highlight of the album. While many of the covers are very well made and sung with other artists that are also very good at what they do, nothing can compare to the songs that were written by Parton, specifically for her very unique voice. With songs like “Rockstar” and “World On Fire,” you can’t help but ask why she hadn’t started making rock music earlier in her career. 

All in all, you can tell that this was a labor of love for Parton. While your immediate reaction to the songs on this album and who the artists she chose to duet with might raise some eyebrows, when you actually sit through the whole album and listen to the songs she presented, you start to appreciate the hard work and dedication that went into the creation of this album. The enjoyment in her voice is obvious in songs like “What’s Up” with Linda Perry and “I Hate Myself For Loving You” with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. Although 21 of the 30 songs on the album were cover songs, her unique style and tone shines through as she makes all of them her own. 

“Rockstar”: ★★★★☆

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About the Contributor
Thomas Halverson, Echo Staffer
Hi, I’m Thomas Halverson. I am a junior here at St. Louis Park High School. This year I am a varsity runner on the cross country team, varsity tennis player and junior varsity basketball player. I am super excited to be a part of the echo team this year!

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