"Jolene" by Dolly Parton is one of my all-time favorite songs. (Editor's note: I cry every time I hear "Jolene" - also one of my favorites.) Dolly’s voice is high yet controlled; there is just enough bounce and twang between her voice and the instrumentals to cement "Jolene"'s status as a country classic. The lyrics are so raw and powerful that the tension Parton sets up with the beauty of the melody feels like the listener's own tension.
But enough has been said about how amazing this song is (and it's been coveredenough times to prove it).
A video released recently shows the original 45 rpm record played at a speed of 33 rpm, slowing the recording down a full 25%. Dolly's voice drops an octave, gains a certain depth, and the harmonies take on a whole new dimension. The result is hauntingly beautiful. One wonders if this wasn't how the record wasn't originally meant to be played - slowed, pained, as hurt as the speaker is about Jolene.
Listen to the track below - keeping in mind that this isn't a cover, it's Dolly herself.
Listen to the original to compare:
Which do you prefer and why? I’d love to hear what y'all think about this beautiful song at any speed.