Better Day (album)

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Better Day
Studio album by Dolly Parton
Released June 28, 2011
(see release history)
Recorded 2010–2011
Genre Country
Length 42:44
Label Warner Music Nashville, Dolly Records
Producer Dolly Parton, Kent Wells
Dolly Parton chronology
Backwoods Barbie
(2008)
Better Day
(2011)
Blue Smoke
(2014)
Singles from Better Day
  1. "Together You and I"
    Released: May 23, 2011
  2. "The Sacrifice"
    Released: October 2011

Better Day is the 41st studio album by American country recording artist Dolly Parton. It was released on June 28, 2011, as the second album from her Dolly Records label.[1]

Background[edit]

Better Day contains entirely original material, her first since Hungry Again.[2] However, only five of the album's twelve tracks are exclusively new.[3] Four of the songs on Better Day, "I Just Might", "Shine Like the Sun", "Get Out and Stay Out" and "Let Love Grow" are Parton's personally recorded versions of songs she wrote for the Broadway adaptation of her 1980 movie 9 to 5.[2] "Holding Everything" was previously written for and recorded by Randy Owen on his debut album, One on One.[3] "Together You and I", was previously recorded with Porter Wagoner on their collaborative album, Porter 'n' Dolly.[3]

In an interview with Billboard, it was noted that the songs on the album are thematically linked, in that they are all inspirational. Parton replied with, "We actually did demo a lot of songs for this [...] and it seemed that with everything being so doomsday-terrorists and bad weather and unemployment-we need a little sunshine. [...] I wanted to do something people would want to hear."[2] The National Post mentioned that "Better Day was inspired in part, Parton says, by such disparate world problems as the Japanese tsunami, the ongoing conflict in the Middle East and America’s economic crisis".[4] Parton added with, “I don't write just to relieve my own anxieties, I write for the people who can't express themselves.” Finishing with, “I can't save the world, but I might be able to save someone today if I can put them in a better mood. The music’s designed to be like a ray of sunshine for all those folks in the dark.”[4]

Release and promotion[edit]

The first single from the album, "Together You and I," was premiered on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on May 27, 2011.[5] Parton has already begun promotion of the tour and album, including across the BBC and ITV in the United Kingdom in April 2011.[6] The album was released on CD, vinyl and digital download.

Singles[edit]

The album's lead single, "Together You and I" was released on May 23, 2011 to digital retailer, iTunes.[7] A video for the single was filmed, and was originally scheduled to debut on May 28.[8] However for unknown reasons, the video was delayed and later debuted on July 4 on country music video station, CMT.[9] The video was directed by acclaimed CMT Music Awards "Video Director of the Year", Trey Fanjoy.[10] "The Sacrifice" was released as the album's second and final single, and a music video was created using live footage from Parton's Better Day World Tour.

Tour[edit]

To promote the album, Parton embarked on her Better Day World Tour. With 49 shows, the tour visited Europe, Australia, and North America.[2]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Dolly Parton, except "Country Is As Country Does" composed by Dolly Parton and Mac Davis[11]

No. Title Length
1. "In the Meantime"   4:04
2. "Just Leaving"   3:00
3. "Somebody's Missing You" (featuring Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss on backing vocals) 3:43
4. "Together You and I"   3:56
5. "Country Is As Country Does"   3:20
6. "Holding Everything" (with Kent Wells) 3:36
7. "The Sacrifice"   3:26
8. "I Just Might"   3:57
9. "Better Day"   3:22
10. "Shine Like the Sun"   3:12
11. "Get Out and Stay Out"   3:05
12. "Let Love Grow"   3:41
Total length:
42:44

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (72/100)[12]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[13]
Billboard (favorable)[14]
Entertainment Weekly A−[15]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[16]
The New York Times (favorable)[17]
Now Magazine 2/5 stars[18]
Paste Magazine 7.5/10 stars[19]
USA Today 3/4 stars[20]
Washington Post (mixed)[21]

Better Day has received positive reviews from most music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 72, based on 19 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[12] Mikael Wood of The Los Angeles Times stated, "Stylistically, “Better Day” lands somewhere between Parton’s recent bluegrass albums and 2008’s “Backwoods Barbie”", and praised of Parton, "[her] irrepressible personality is the star attraction, and on “Better Day” it shines.".[16] Elysa Gardner of USA Today gave Better Day three out of four stars, and wrote "this age-defying country girl, with her resilient soprano and infectious pluck, seems incapable of a truly false note."[20] Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker wrote, "In the midst of hard economic times, the positive anthems that fill Better Day [...] come off as brilliant strategy, with some equally brilliant vocal performances."[15] Tucker added to this, with his review for NPR's Fresh Air, stating, "There's a sincere and earnest quality to this music that enables it to stand apart from so much of the trumped-up emotionalism and cheesy irony of the pop-music world all around it."[11] In a favorable review, Billboard's Phil Gallo exclaimed, "The album's dozen story songs [..] are filled with uplifting sentiment and words of encouragement set against a variety of backdrops, most of them deeply rooted in country traditions rather than acquiescing to radio demands", and claimed that the album's mid-tempo songs, "leap out and beg to be played on the radio."[14]

The New York Times writer Nate Chinen offered praise for Parton's "almost ageless" vocals.[17] While Holly Gleason of Paste Magazine stated that Parton, "juxtaposes superstardom with her down-home comfort zone" and continued that the album is a "pop-country gem that empowers as it punches country radio’s clichés with a freshness".[19] Allmusic's Steve Leggett commended that Better Day is, "an energetic, spirited, and hopeful outing that rocks and soars with enough musical sunshine to light up even the grayest day" and wrote that Parton, "has never sounded fresher or more spirited [...] she shows she still knows how to write a timeless song."

While The Washington Post's Allison Stewart stated that Better Day is a "restless jumble of styles weighted toward mainstream country", and that the album "is only as great as it needs to be".[21] Carla Gillis of NOW panned the album's "eye-rolling Dollyisms", but complimented that Parton's vocals were "as strong, clear and distinct as ever."[18]

Chart performance[edit]

Better Day debuted at number 51 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The album also debuted at number 11 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart.[22] In the UK, the album was released on August 29, 2011 and debuted at No. 9 on the UK Album Charts, becoming Parton's highest charting studio album in that country as well as becoming a No.1 on the UK Country Albums Chart[23]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
position
Australian Country Albums Chart 1
Australian Albums Chart 29
Irish Albums Chart 68
Scottish Albums Chart 6
UK Albums Chart 9
UK Country Albums Chart[24] 1
UK Download Albums Chart 18
U.S. Billboard 200 51
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums 11

Credits and personnel[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Label Format Catalogue
Canada June 28, 2011 Dolly Records, Warner Music Nashville CD, digital download
United States 528216 2
Canada August 16, 2011 LP
United States
Australia August 26, 2011 Dolly Records, Universal Music TV CD, digital download
Ireland August 29, 2011 Dolly Records, Sony Music
United Kingdom 88697915312

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dunham, Nancy (May 23, 2011). "Dolly Parton Has 'Better Day' Planned for June". The Boot. Retrieved May 26, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d Gallo, Phil (July 4, 2011). "Dolly Parton Talks Worldwide Tour, New Record 'Better Day'". Billboard. Retrieved July 5. 
  3. ^ a b c Flippo, Chet (July 7, 2011), NASHVILLE SKYLINE: Dolly Parton: Never Count Her Out, retrieved July 7, 2011 
  4. ^ a b Kaplan, Ben (July 5, 2011). "Dolly Parton still working nine to five at 65". National Post. Retrieved July 5, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Dolly Parton is Always Ready! – The Ellen DeGeneres Show". ellen.warnerbros.com. May 27, 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  6. ^ http://www.dollypartonmusic.net/news.html?item&sectionID=1&articleID=413[dead link]
  7. ^ iTunes, "Together You and I" by Dolly Parton
  8. ^ Dolly Parton's Official website: The Making of "Together You And I" Behind the Scenes Photos!
  9. ^ Dolly Parton's Official Site: Dolly's "Together You & I" Video World Premiere on CMT!
  10. ^ Nunn, Jerry (July 5, 2011). "Q&A: Dolly Parton". Out & About. Retrieved July 5, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Tucker, Ken (July 5, 2011). "Dolly Parton: No 'Better Day' Than Today". Fresh Air on NPR. Retrieved July 5, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Critical Reviews for Better Day at Metacritic
  13. ^ Leggett, Steve (June 28, 2011). "Better Day – Dolly Parton". Allmusic. Retrieved July 3, 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Gallo, Phil (June 17, 2011). "Dolly Parton, "Better Day"". Billboard. Retrieved July 3, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Tucker, Ken (June 30, 2011). "Better Day (2011)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 3, 2011. 
  16. ^ a b Wood, Mikael (June 27, 2011). "Album review: Dolly Parton's 'Better Day'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 3, 2011. 
  17. ^ a b Chinen, Nate (June 27, 2011). "New Music, Better Day". The New York Times. Retrieved July 3, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b Gillis, Carla (June 30, 2011). "Dolly Parton – Better Day". Now Magazine. Retrieved July 3, 2011. 
  19. ^ a b Gleason, Holly (June 28, 2011). "Dolly Parton: Better Day". Billboard. Retrieved July 3, 2011. 
  20. ^ a b Gardner, Elysa (June 27, 2011). "Listen Up: Big Sean, Dolly Parton, more". USA Today. Retrieved July 3, 2011. 
  21. ^ a b Stewart, Allison (June 28, 2011). "Quick spins: Dolly Parton, Big Sean, Jill Scott". Washington Post. Retrieved July 3, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Better Day – Dolly Parton". July 7, 2011. Retrieved July 7, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Chart Stats (UK) Dolly Parton discography". Retrieved September 4, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Archive Chart". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 23, 2012.