Dolly Parton launched into her rock 'n' roller era on Thursday night (May 11) at the 2023 ACM Awards. A co-host this year alongside Garth Brooks, Parton ended a night that began on a silly note with the live premiere of "World on Fire," an arena rock-scale message song from her forthcoming album Rockstar.
The song asks why everyone can't just get along through dim yet not completely hopeless lyrics informed by Parton's personal faith and her unwillingness to publicly take political sides.
"Greedy politicians present and past/ They wouldn't know the truth if it bit 'em in the ass," she sang. "Now tell me what is truth/ Have we all lost sight/ Of common decency/ Of wrong and right?"
It has a darker tone than other modern Parton compositions. Literal flames during the live performance brought the lyrics to life, as did a choir of interpretive dancers. Symbolically, an extremely long skirt with a map of the world printed on it got torn away from Parton right as she began singing about the pending downfall of our planet.
Rockstar arrives this fall and comes fresh off Parton's Rock Hall induction. It features both covers and original material and teams Parton with such cross-genre icons as Stevie Nicks, Debbie Harry, Lizzo, Miley Cyrus, Chris Stapleton and John Fogerty.
"I'm so excited to finally present my first Rock and Roll album Rockstar!" Parton shared in a press release. "I am very honored and privileged to have worked with some of the greatest iconic singers and musicians of all time and to be able to sing all the iconic songs throughout the album was a joy beyond measure. I hope everybody enjoys the album as much as I've enjoyed putting it together!"
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