UnRated Magazine


Music ArchivesMusic Archives

Dolly Parton, Backwoods Barbie

Dolly Records / A2M Distribution, Release Date: February 26, 2008

by Trent McMartin

Dolly Parton, Backwoods BarbieA few years ago country queen Dolly Parton decided to ease off the glitz and glam and go back to basics. Relying less on her trademark image, she became a leading figure in the early 21st century revitalization of country-bluegrass music. That was then, this is now. Backwoods Barbie, Dolly's first mainstream country album in over a decade, sees the star reverting (or regressing) back to the light and breezy pop country she made pre-Hungry Again. And at its best it's a hit-and-miss affair. Her covers of Smokey Robinson's "The Tracks of Tears" and the Fine Young Cannibals' "She Drives Me Crazy" are pure Dolly at her tasteless worst (or best, whatever version of Dolly Parton you prefer). It's only in the ballads where Dolly evokes her genuineness: "I Will Forever Hate Roses," a stripped down honky tonk number about goodbyes and the title track, an autobiographical folk song about not judging a book by it's cover. In the latter she sings, "I'm just a backwoods Barbie in a push-up bra and heels/I might look artificial/but where it counts I'm real." Don't worry Dolly; we know you're not a fake. It's just hard to tell sometimes.