The only good reason to listen to Dolly Parton’s new album is nostalgia. The rehash of old music and style that Parton exhibits in her new album, “Pure & Simple,” is exactly the sort of thing that most of our parents and grandparents would have listened to, triggering memories of their childhoods and teenage years.
With “Pure & Simple,” Parton explores a new side of herself that she should have entered when she was sixteen. Ironically, the only song even remotely resembling modern music is “I’m Sixteen,” however pathetic the attempt might be. The only bright spot evident is “Can’t Be Wrong”, whose guitar melody almost makes up for the cringe-worthy lyrics accompanying it.
Nobody wants to hear a seventy-year-old woman talk about sex. It’s just not pleasant. Any one of her seemingly innocent songs can transition suddenly to sex, leaving a puzzled feeling followed by a widening of the eyes, and a guilty glance to the left and right to make sure nobody else could hear what could easily be mistaken for some strange kind of smut out of context.
“Pure & Simple” represents a style long forgotten to anybody present in a society with changing styles and trends. Parton writes a few new oldies and revisits some of her classics from the seventies that really weren’t even that popular then. All in all, it feels like Parton seems like she’s stuck in the past.