Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Dolly Parton "Holly Dolly Christmas


(Butterfly) I LOVE Dolly Parton! I have 80 Dolly records in my collection; I binged that entire Netflix series where they act out her songs; I've journeyed to Dollywood; and if they let you choose COVID vaccines I sure as hell will choose the Dolly one. But this is not her finest moment. It ends strong with a powerfully sacred rendition of 'Mary, Did You Know," "Comin' Home For Christmas," which came out a few years ago but has not been on an album to my knowledge, is some prime Dolly songwriting, and that's a helluva top she is wearing on the album cover. But there's a lot of musically uninteresting hokeyness here (Dolly has done fascinating hokeyness scores of times) and a lot of uninspired duet pairings.  The only duet with any pop is with her brother Randy, while the others just don't rise to the season (I would love to have heard Dolly and Willie's voices melding on "Pretty Paper," but the production drowns out Willie's voice, and Miley Cyrus needs a certain kind of production and song to shine, and doesn't get them here). If you are excited to hear Dolly duet with Jimmy Fallon on "All I Want For Christmas Is You," complete with a ton of awkward chastely romantic banter between them, then God bless you, but I have never met you or anyone who shares your opinions in my life. First off, while that song is a legit contemporary Christmas classic (it might end up the last song to make the Christmas Canon), it doesn't really need to be covered - no one can touch the original. Second  - Jimmy Fallon? I am not a complete hater (his pseudo hardcore song about a snowball fight is a novelty record that scores high on my Demento-meter), but c'mon, is this who we want to hear sing with Dolly? I bought this on vinyl and the best I can say is the second side is way stronger than than the first, so I may bust it out on occasion, flip it over and listen Fallon-free. Not sure I can recommend this on another format. That said, there is actually an $55 Amazon-exclusive 8-Track edition of this album, with a bonus track! 2020 is a very weird year. And I love Dolly Parton.

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