Dolly Parton releases new Christmas album

Written By Sarah Gibson, Co-Opinions Editor

3.5/5 Globes


When I heard that Dolly Parton was going to release a Christmas album this year, I nearly lost my marbles, which I didn’t have very many of at the start of the semester. With a star studded list of featured guests and a holiday that has the opportunity to play into the Dolly-Style Glamour and message, here’s a host of micro reviews of every song on the album. 


  1. Holly Jolly Christmas

This is alright! I totally understand why she wanted to make it the first track on the album. She has an interlude where she describes her fellow musicians’ music as “sweeter than christmas candy” which was a bit bizarre, but I do suppose Dolly is 74. It’s a pretty safe song. Admittedly, I think Dolly should have just redone the entire song as “Holly Dolly Christmas,” because that’s what we’re here for. Show the people what a Holly Dolly Christmas looks like. I promise you, they’ll love it. 


  1. Christmas Is (Feat. Miley Cyrus)

Don’t get me wrong, I love Miley (especially some of the stuff she’s done recently) but this song doesn’t do it for me. This song is one of the original ones written for this album, and I think the meaning of the song is a little bit warbled. It’s so close to having a message, but doesn’t quite close the circle. Each stanza of the song has like, a mini message, but Dolly doesn’t do much in the way of gluing them together.


  1. Cuddle Up, Cozy Down Christmas (Feat. Michael Buble)

When I tell you I almost took a bite out of my couch cushions in the feral frenzy that hearing Michael Buble in a new Christmas song sent me into, I mean it. This is another original song for the album. I’d describe it as one of the better love songs about Christmas. Rustic, but not painfully so. If the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” creeps you out, I’d recommend this song as a replacement. 


  1. Christmas On the Square

If you were ever taught to square dance in high school, now is the time to bring those skills back. This track is an original for the album, and Dolly does with this what I WISH she did for “Holly Jolly Christmas.” “Christmas on the Square” is a fun, playful track that really taps in to Dolly’s bluegrass roots. If bluegrass immediately turns you off, pretend I didn’t say that and give it a listen anyway. 


  1. Circle of Love

This is another original song, but it looks like this one has been around since 2016 when the movie “Dolly Partons’ A Christmas Of Many Colors: Circle of Love” came out. It is a song about Jesus being born on Christmas night. If you listen to the religious subgenre of Christmas music, then you’ll probably like this. While it isn’t particularly the stuff I’d listen to in my free time, I would definitely put this on a Christmas Dinner party playlist.


  1. All I Want For Christmas Is You (Feat. Jimmy Fallon)

It’s a cover of the Mariah Carey song. She calls Jimmy Fallon a sexy boy at the end, and it made me uncomfortable. To quote the Editor-in-Chief of The Globe, Jordyn Hronec, upon hearing this news, “Jimmy Fallon is objectively not a sexy boy.”


  1. Comin’ Home For Christmas.

Another Parton original, this song is a part of the microgenre of “I’ll be home for Christmas” songs, including “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Coming Home For Christmas” (Which is a completely different song than the one sang by Parton,) “Driving Home For Christmas,” and “Christmas Coming Home,” to name a few. It’ll probably strike a chord with you if you’re a student whose family doesn’t live super close. 


  1. Christmas Where We Are (Feat. Billy Ray Cyrus)

This song features Billy Ray Cyrus, and it uses him really well. It has a mild country-rock feel that is indicative of Cyrus’ style, which is made even softer and more fitting by the message, which is that you can have Christmas anywhere, and that you don’t need the silly, material things to celebrate. This is the song that “Christmas Is” was trying to be. 


  1. Pretty Paper (Feat. Willie Nelson)

Instantly added this one to my Christmas playlist. Country comfort, romantic, wistful, and with guest Willie Nelson? One of my favorites on this album. Enough said.


  1. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

It’s a nice song, but Dolly doesn’t do much in the way of transforming this one. If you didn’t tell me, I might not have recognized it as new. 


  1. You Are My Christmas (Feat. Randy Parton)

So, it’s not a bad song, but maybe it’s not for me? This one kind of reads as forgettable. Dolly and her younger brother are clearly having fun, but I feel like I’ve heard 1,000 other modern country Christmas songs like this one. The other originals on this album don’t give me this vibe.


  1. Mary, Did You Know?

I really enjoy this song. I feel like it’s important to keep this one simple, though, and Dolly does a pretty good job at not adding too many bells and whistles until it’s appropriate. Personally, I could have done with a little less vibrato during the verses. It’s like salt; it should be a spice, not the entire meal, but otherwise, I think she pulled this one off quite nicely. The end is pretty great, too. 


Well, there we have it! While I love Dolly, I don’t think any album is immune to criticism, even hers. I think the reception that it’s received so far makes sense. As for me and my house, we will be listening to many of these songs for the next two months, maybe longer.