Whether the topic is her painfully boring feud with celebrity gossipmonger Perez Hilton, her pilgrimage to study at the feet of legendary performance artist Marina Abramovic, her surprise visit to the streets and clubs of West Hollywood, or the recently released music video for her new single, “Applause,” everywhere you turn, Lady Gaga seems to be all anyone cares to write about. And everyone has very strong opinions.
So with (or without) your permission, I won’t be wading into that particular fray. I have no interest in praising Lady Gaga or passing judgment upon her. Not because I lack for strong opinions when it comes to The Mother of Monsters—trust me, I’ve got them—but rather because trying to have a calm and rational conversation about the artistic merits of Lady Gaga is as pointless as trying to have a calm and rational conversation about the spiritual merits of the Catholic Church; you are either a true believer or you aren’t and anyone capable of having that calm and rational conversation with you already feels exactly the way you do, everyone else is dangerously unhinged.
So instead let us turn our attention to a pop icon whose merits are completely undisputed, Dolly Parton. I myself have adored Ms. Parton since I saw her lasso and hogtie Dabney Coleman in Nine to Five, I really fell in love the first time my mother played Dolly’s classic torch song “Jolene” for me. Its melody is mournful and moving, the lyrics are earnest and heartbreaking—and if someone were to tell me this song would be just as awesome slowed down by 25 percent I would not have believed them, but someone has done just that, and it is amazing.
Of course my colleague Blair over at UR a Blog planted her flag in this little pop culture gem well before me, because she is a ninja of all things pop culture, and I will never snatch that pebble out of her hand no matter how hard I try. But as long as we are all basking in the glow of Dolly Parton’s inherent awesomeness I thought I’d share a few more of my favorite “Jolene” riffs. Let’s start with this live cover from the White Stripes. There is something about Jack White crooning “please don’t take my man,” that makes me seriously weak in the knees.
Some might say that Rap and County Music are two great tastes that simply don’t taste great together, to those people I present this Dolly Parton/Jay-Z mashup.
Finally, this fantastic cover by beloved alt-country band The Geraldine Fibbers—brought to my attention by our beloved Creative Director, Ed Baker—that ads a delicious fire to the melancholy lyrics. Enjoy!