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Dolly Reacts to Beyoncé’s Bold “Jolene” Revamp

Country music legend Dolly Parton isn’t shy about expressing her admiration for Beyoncé’s latest album, “Cowboy Carter,” particularly its daring reimagining of Parton’s own signature song, “Jolene.”

In a recent interview with E! News at Dollywood’s new Dolly Parton Experience, Parton revealed her initial surprise at Beyoncé’s creative twist on “Jolene.”

“I expected it to be my regular one,” she admitted, referencing the original version’s pleading tone towards a rival for a man’s affection.

But Parton, ever the gracious songwriter, quickly turned her surprise into appreciation. “I love what she did to it,” she declared. “As a songwriter, you love the fact that people do your songs no matter how they do them.”

Keep reading to know what Parton said about the revamp.

Dolly Parton and Beyonce
Dolly Parton and Beyonce

Dolly’s React: Beyoncé’s Refreshing ‘Jolene’ Spin

Parton went on to praise Beyoncé’s overall exploration of country music on “Cowboy Carter.” “I thought she did a great job,” she said, acknowledging the stylistic leap for the pop icon. “And I was just happy she did ‘Jolene.'”

She even posted on her social media:

However, the interview revealed a playful tug-of-war between Parton’s songwriter’s pride and her natural curiosity.

While she embraced Beyoncé’s bold take, a part of her yearned to hear the Queen of Pop tackle the original version.

“Of course, I would have loved to have heard how she would have done it in its original way,” she confessed. “But of course, you know, it’s Beyoncé. Yeah, her life is different than mine.”

The interview also hinted at a blossoming friendship between the two music titans. Parton revealed warm communication with Beyoncé during the album’s production, including “sending each other flowers and little love notes.”

The most exciting prospect, however, emerged when Parton was asked about a potential collaboration at the 2025 Grammys, should “Cowboy Carter” garner a nomination.

“Why, of course, I would—if I’m available,” she enthused. “Who wouldn’t wanna sing ‘Jolene’ with Beyoncé?”

A Look Back at “Jolene”: A Country Ballad with Universal Appeal

Parton’s “Jolene” first captivated audiences in 1973, becoming a cornerstone of her career.

The song’s poignant lyrics tell the story of a woman pleading with another, named Jolene, to leave her man alone.

The vivid imagery of Jolene’s beauty – “Your beauty is beyond compare/With flaming locks of auburn hair” – adds a layer of vulnerability to the narrator’s pleas.

However, the song’s power transcends the specific narrative. “Jolene” taps into a universal fear of loss and the insecurity that can come with love.

Parton’s powerful vocals and the song’s simple yet effective arrangement resonated with listeners across generations and musical preferences.

Beyoncé’s Reimagination: A Bold Move with Girl Power

Beyoncé’s version of “Jolene” throws a curveball at the original narrative. Gone are the pleas and insecurities.

Beyoncé makes huge changes to the lyrics of “Jolene”
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Instead, Beyoncé’s rendition exudes confidence and strength. Lyrics like “I’m warning you, don’t come for my man” replace the original’s begging, a testament to a woman who refuses to back down for another.

The revamped lyrics also address Jolene directly, highlighting the importance of family and loyalty.

“You’re beautiful beyond compare/Takes more than beauty and seductive stares/To come between a family and a happy man.”

This shift in perspective redefines the song’s theme, turning it into an anthem for women who stand strong for their relationships.

Beyoncé – JOLENE (Official Lyric Video)
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A Song, Two Stories, One Legacy

Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and Beyoncé’s reimagining showcase the power of music to be reinterpreted and re-experienced across generations and genres.

While the original song resonated with vulnerability, Beyoncé’s version injects strength and empowerment. Both versions, in their own unique way, connect with listeners on a deeply personal level.

The story doesn’t end there. The prospect of a future collaboration between Parton and Beyoncé on “Jolene” adds another layer of intrigue to the song’s legacy.

Whether they join forces at the Grammys or not, the conversation surrounding these two iconic versions of “Jolene” ensures the song’s continued relevance for years to come.

Queen vs. Queen: A Vocal Showdown in “Jolene”

Here’s a comparison of the ‘Jolene’ lyrics by Dolly Parton and Beyoncé presented in a table format:

Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’Beyoncé’s ‘Jolene’
OpeningJolene, Jolene, Jolene, JoleneJolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
Chorus 1I’m begging of you, please don’t take my manI’m warnin’ you, don’t come for my man (Jolene)
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, JoleneJolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
Please don’t take him just because you canDon’t take the chance because you think you can
Description of JoleneYour beauty is beyond compareYou’re beautiful, beyond compare
With flaming locks of auburn hairTakes more than beauty and seductive stares
With ivory skin and eyes of emerald greenTo come between a family and a happy man
Your smile is like a breath of spring
Your voice is soft like summer rain
And I cannot compete with you, Jolene
Jolene’s EffectHe talks about you in his sleepI can easily understand
And there’s nothin’ I can do to keepWhy you’re attracted to my man
From cryin’ when he calls your name, JoleneBut you don’t want this smoke, so shoot your shot with someone else
I’ma stand by her, she will stand by me, Jolene
Chorus 2Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, JoleneJolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I’m begging of you, please don’t take my manI’m warnin’ you, woman, find you your own man
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, JoleneJolene, I know I’m a queen, Jolene
Please don’t take him even though you canI’m still a Creole banjee bitch from Louisianne (Don’t try me)
Jolene’s ResponseYou could have your choice of menThere’s a thousand girls in every room
But I could never love againThat act as desperate as you do
He’s the only one for me, JoleneYou a bird, go on and sing your tune, Jolene
I had to have this talk with you
My happiness depends on you
And whatever you decide to do, Jolene
Final ThoughtsMe and my man crossed those valleysI crossed those valleys
Highs and lows and everything betweenHighs and lows and everything between
Good deeds roll in like tumblin’ weedsGood deeds roll in like tumblin’ weeds
I sleep good, happyGood and happy
‘Cause you can’t dig up our planted seeds‘Cause you can’t dig up them planted seeds
I know my man’s gon’ stand by me, breathin’ in my gentle breeze (Ah)
This table provides a comparison of the two versions of “Jolene.”

Beyonce’s version of lyrics is laced with warnings and a touch of menace. “Jolene, Jolene, I’m warning you, don’t come for my man,” Beyoncé sings, her voice leaving no room for negotiation.

This is a woman who knows her worth and isn’t afraid to throw down if challenged.

She readily acknowledges Jolene’s attractiveness but asserts dominance with lines like, “You don’t want this smoke, so shoot your shot for someone else.” The message is clear: Back off or face the consequences.

Ultimately, Beyoncé’s “Jolene” is a powerful statement of female empowerment.

It’s a song where the woman in the relationship refuses to be sidelined, a stark contrast to the helpless pleas of the original.

Whether you prefer Parton’s poignant vulnerability or Beyoncé’s fierce defiance, one thing is certain: “Jolene” has become a song with two distinct voices, each leaving an indelible mark on music history.

Conclusion

  • Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” has transcended generations, its tale of love and insecurity resonating with millions. But in 2024, Beyoncé breathed new life into the classic ballad with her daring reimagining of “Cowboy Carter.”
  • The album’s release wasn’t just a foray into country music for Beyoncé; it was a conversation starter. Parton herself set the tone with a playful intro, playfully comparing Jolene to another temptress from Beyoncé’s past. This playful wink hinted at the subversion to come.
  • Beyoncé’s “Jolene” throws away the script of vulnerability. Gone are the desperate pleas, replaced by fierce confidence and a refusal to be a victim.
  • Parton’s “Jolene” was a ballad painted with insecurity. Beyoncé’s version flips the canvas, showcasing a woman secure in her love and her relationship’s history. She reminds Jolene of the years invested; the family built a bond far deeper than fleeting beauty.
  • Ultimately, Beyoncé’s “Jolene” is an anthem of female empowerment. It’s a woman refusing to be cast aside, a powerful counterpoint to the original’s helplessness.
  • Whether you connect with Parton’s vulnerability or Beyoncé’s defiance, one thing remains clear: “Jolene” has become a song with two distinct voices.
  • Each voice has left an indelible mark, ensuring the song’s legacy continues to grow for generations to come. The possibility of a future collaboration between these two musical titans only adds another layer of intrigue to this remarkable story.

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