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‘Beyoncé kinda gagged y’all’: Fans are reacting to Beyoncé’s new cover of Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene,’ and the memes won’t stop

Yes, Dolly does have full writing credit on Beyonce's new cover.


Allie Hayes

Pop Culture

Posted on Apr 1, 2024   Updated on Apr 1, 2024, 11:30 am CDT

ICYMI—which, um, how?!—Beyoncé released her new album, ‘COWBOY CARTER,’ this past week, and it’s got everyone who listens yee-hawing.

One of the stand-out tracks upon the record’s release was a cover of Dolly Parton’s iconic song, “Jolene.” Still, to call it a cover feels disingenuous, because it’s more like a modern reimagining of the tale given the updated lyrics and more direct vibe than the original.

The country music legend originally released the tune back in 1973 to be featured on an album of the same name. The song details a woman’s strife as she literally begs another woman not to “take” her man, despite her incredible beauty enabling her to do so with ease.

Per Dolly, the song was inspired by a specific event wherein a red-headed woman who worked at a bank pursued Dolly’s husband shortly after the two got married. 

The song has had an incredibly long shelf life, enjoying covers from artists including Olivia Newton-John, The White Stripes, and more, with the torch now being passed to Beyoncé. However, as stated previously, it’s important to note that the version of “Jolene” featured on COWBOY CARTER has different lyrics than the other covers mentioned, as the lyrics have been updated to a less “begging” and more “warning” tone: literally, because the lyric “I’m begging of you please don’t take my man” has been changed to “I’m warning you, don’t come for my man.”

While some “country music fans” have expressed disdain for the cover given what they assumed were Beyoncé’s updated lyrics, it was revealed over the weekend that Dolly is actually credited as the sole songwriter on the track—meaning, plot twist—these updated lyrics are actually her own doing:

Dolly was also featured several other times on Beyoncé’s album, including an interlude to the “Jolene” cover literally titled “Dolly P.”

Naturally, fans of both artists and the cover were quite to take to X to share their reactions, which resulted in some absolutely A+ memes and jokes about “Jolene” the song and the woman who inspired it:

So, there you have it! In short:

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*First Published: Apr 1, 2024, 11:19 am CDT