A lot of you may not be familiar with Stella Parton, the younger sister of Dolly, but as a self-confessed Dollyite and with friends who have known her I have vaguely kept up with her career. She has long been a successful singer, songwriter and actress; 4 years Dolly’s junior, she has released an impressive 16 original studio albums and 6 compilations; she has appeared in Dukes of Hazzard as well as plenty of productions on Broadway, including a version of ‘The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas’, the film version of which starred her more famous sister in 1982. She has also charted many country singles, mostly throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
So this successful 64-year-old has had a respectful, illustrious career with plenty to celebrate and build upon, despite the fact that nowadays many have forgotten or never knew of her existence. So why she decided to record an EDM (electronic dance music) album, called ‘Resurrection’, I have absolutely no idea. Much of it consists of intensely remixed versions of prior hits – songs like ‘Legs’ and ‘Danger of A Stranger’, those of which sound ultimately bizarre when adapted for a club setting. These gentle, perhaps twee, simple country love songs, and fun, novelty tracks sound altogether ridiculous, in fact, when set in such a computerized fashion, steeped in hedonism. What’s more, the original vocals, even sped up, do not fit the modern beats because of the style of her delivery, and it just comes across embarrassingly amateur.
There are also a few new songs thrown in there, although they equally sound as odd. Of course, artists are allowed to experiment with different genres, even as polarized as this, and this is not the reason I’m claiming her meltdown. Rather, her attempt to “get down with the kidz” is showcased in its full capacity here, in this promotional video:
Can we just draw our attention to the orange afro, the sparkly stripper dress and the fact that this 64-year-old looks like a drag queen? Walking into a club full of people in their 20s and 30s, a lot of them are probably wondering who this grandpa-in-denial is. Personal offences aside, her performance style involves standing awkwardly and clapping to the beat while young black men dance sexually next to her, at one point grinding up against her whilst barely wearing any clothes, as she caresses him. Her light, spindly voice cowers behind the music, performed to a room full of people who stand and stare, perhaps in horror.
The fact that someone who has lived a dignified career and been successful in her own right feels the need to completely make a fool out of herself and so something that is frankly embarrassing is sad and needs addressing. I’m not sure anyone can quite figure this out. Whether EDM is your thing or not, I think we can establish that Stella is not suited to it, and while we can applaud her for trying something new, the cringeworthy way in which she goes about the recordings and also her album promo video performance prompts me to think that she may well have lost her mind. This doesn’t scream publicity stunt because it just doesn’t have the promotion to push it into the public eye, I only know about it because a friend who is a fan passed it on. So who knows. Either way, if Stella thought “doing what the young ones do” would boost her album sales, she’d be wrong. Take a leaf out of your sister’s book, eh?