Beyonce’s ‘Jolene’ Cover Updates Dolly Parton’s Song Lyrics

It looks like Dolly Parton hinted correctly. After the country icon said that she believed that Beyoncé would sample or interpolate her 1973 classic “Jolene” for her new album, Bey has done just that, including a cover of the song with altered lyrics and song structure on her highly anticipated new album “Cowboy Carter.”

Parton didn’t let the cat fully out of the bag — she makes two cameos on the record, introducing the trap-meets-country song “Tyrant” as well as having her own “Dolly P” interlude just before “Jolene.” “Hey miss Honey B, it’s Dolly P. You know that hussy with the good hair you sing about?” says Parton on “Dolly P,” referencing Beyoncé’s 2016 song “Sorry” and the line “Becky with the good hair.” “Reminding me of someone I knew back when, except she has flaming locks of auburn hair, bless her heart. Just a hair of a different color but it hurts just the same.”

Beyoncé puts her own fiery spin on “Jolene,” changing the lyrics and the overall tone of the original song. Where Parton begs and pleads with a woman not to steal her man, Bey sends warning shots to a suitor: “I can easily understand why you’re attracted to my man / But you don’t want this smoke, so shoot your shot for someone else.” She continues by making her vengeance more explicit, singing, “I had to have this talk with you ’cause I hate to have to act the fool / Your peace depends on how you move, Jolene.”

Parton referenced the “Jolene” cover on Wednesday night, posting an image of the album’s tracklist to her Instagram stories and writing, “Play the original while you wait for @beyonce’s ‘Jolene.’” On Thursday, she posted a throwback photo of her to her grid, captioning the pic “Just call me Dolly P” and using Beyoncé’s “Texas Hold ‘Em” as the attached sound.

“Jolene” is one of two notable covers on “Cowboy Carter,” as Beyoncé duets with Tanner Adell on a rendition of the Beatles’ “Blackbird” (entitled “Blackbird”). Elsewhere on the album, she folds in numerous interpolations including a reference to the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations,” Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” and purportedly Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” on the Miley Cyrus duet “II Most Wanted.”

“Cowboy Carter” arrives less than two months after Beyoncé surprise-released her dual singles “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages” during the Super Bowl in early February. She explained in an Instagram post that she was inspired to create “Cowboy Carter” after an incident where she didn’t feel “welcomed,” likely referring to a controversy-stirring performance alongside the Dixie Chicks (as they were then known) at the 2016 Country Music Association Awards.

Read the full deep dive into Beyoncé’s “Cowboy Carter” album.


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