Pittsburgh-raised electro-funk artist Princess Nostalgia pays tribute to the legendary Dolly Parton with a cover of “Jolene.”
Where Parton’s original track is a twangy country belter, Princess N’s version is a slinky, futuristic slow-burner, with Parton’s classic ascending/descending guitar riff replaced by echoing “ba-da-da” vocals, and the song’s pace slowed down to a sultry crawl. The corresponding visual was inspired by a Radiolab segment that focused on the fact that, when writing “Jolene,” Parton focused on the titular woman’s alluring qualities (“Ivory skin and eyes of emerald green/Your voice is like a breath of spring”) instead of taking the standard route and calling her a no-good, man-stealing strumpet (or something along those lines). Princess N takes this detail a step further in the bewitchingly psychedelic video, portraying one scenario in which Jolene steals the singer’s man, and another in which the singer and Jolene are the ones getting steamy. It’s a clever switch-up, one that seems to have occurred to other listeners in the past, so perhaps there’s something there?