Saturday, October 22, 2011

Album Better

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Better Day contains entirely original material, her first since Hungry Again. However, only five of the album's twelve tracks are exclusively new. 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. "Holding Everything" was previously written for and recorded by Randy Owen on his debut album, One on One. "Together You and I", was previously recorded with Porter Wagoner on their collaborative album, Porter 'n' Dolly.
The first single from the album, "Together You and I," was premiered on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on May 27, 2011. Parton has already begun promotion of the tour and album, including across the BBC and ITV in the United Kingdom in April 2011. The album was released on CD, vinyl and digital download.
The album's lead single, "Together You and I" was released on May 23, 2011 to digital retailer, iTunes. A video for the single was filmed, and was originally scheduled to debut on May 28. However for unknown reasons, the video was delayed and later debuted on July 4 on country music video station, CMT. The video was directed by acclaimed CMT Music Awards "Video Director of the Year", Trey Fanjoy.

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Helloween - Better than Raw

To promote the album, Parton will embark on her Better Day World Tour. The tour will include 39 dates, with visits to the continents of Europe, Australia, and North America. Parton stated that only five of the album's eight new tracks will be added to the setlist, including "Together You and I", "Better Day", "Shine Like the Sun", "The Sacrifice", and "In the Meantime".

Better Than Raw (CD)


Better Than Raw (CD)


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All songs written and composed by Dolly Parton, except "Country Is As Country Does" composed by Dolly Parton and Mac Davis. 
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 71, based on 18 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". 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.". 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." 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." 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." In a favorable review, Billboard Magazine'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."

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Helloween - Better Than Raw


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The New York Times writer Nate Chinen offered praise for Parton's "almost ageless" vocals. 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 clich├ęs with a freshness". 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". 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." 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. In the UK, the album was released on August 29, 2011 and debuted at #9 on the UK Album Charts, becoming Parton's highest charting studio album in that country.

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Better Than Raw (CD)


Helloween - Better Than Raw


Halloween at Lulu Guinness


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