Dumplin’ [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]
RCA Records Label Nashville
First off, it’s a great movie – really worthwhile. Strong, subtle performances, an interesting set of themes and more grit and heart than the typical Hollywood comedy fare. It’s funny too – but has more than just humour. And one of the big themes of the film is the main character’s love of Dolly Parton. Fittingly Dolly provides the soundtrack with six new songs and six re-recordings of much-loved tunes from her back catalog. Those hits: Here I Am, Dumb Blonde, Two Doors Down, Holdin On To You, Here You Come Again and, yes, Jolene.
It must be the sixth or seventh time that Dolly has re-recorded Jolene – and it remains mercurial despite (and because of) its grim stories of betrayal and paranoia. Here the ballad version of Here You Come Again is magnificent – Two Doors Down really pops, in fact all of the re-imagined hits work. Dolly’s in the background for most, ushering in Sia or Miranda Lambert or – on Here You Come Again – 14 year old Willa Amai.
But it’s the six new songs that prove Dolly’s still queen, not willing to give up her crown anytime soon.
Again, it’s to a roll-call of guests – Mavis Staples’ gospel pedigree just perfect for trading lines with Parton on Wonder Why and if Rhonda Vincent and Alison Krauss have been waiting in the wings for a while, their contributions here show that, with utmost respect, they remain happy to wait.
The writing remains strong (Dolly’s paired with Linda Perry for the new songs) and faithful to Parton’s uplifting tales of strong female characters; of people showing grit and gumption.
Dumplin’ plays through – whether you’ve seen the film or not – like the perfect mix of hits and new stuff. It would work so perfectly as an introduction to Dolly (should anyone need it). It plays through like a greatest hits showcase with decent bonus (new) material.
It’s an easy winner from a class act. And Dolly sounds as vital here as she has in years, even cleverly, when she takes the backseat.
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