After over half a century of being an award-winning singer-songwriter, Dolly Parton achieved a new milestone when she landed on Billboard’s Rock Digital Song Sales chart. Her new single “World on Fire” debuted at No. 13 on the chart, which she had never entered before.
During the 2023 Academy of Country Music Awards last May 11, 2023 – at Frisco, Texas’s Ford Center at the Star – the country music legend pulled double duty of co-hosting the two-hour show alongside Garth Brooks and treating the audience to the inaugural performance of the song.
Closing out the show, Parton spiced up the night with a line of backup dancers that doubled as a choir, pyrotechnics, and a full band. But what even caught the audience’s attention more was her billowy skirt, as huge as the stage, brandishing a black and white world map.
“Liar, liar, the world’s on fire. Whatcha gonna do when it all burns down?” she sings.
A Cautionary Tale About The Tumultuous State Of The World
“This is a song I felt very inspired to write,” Dolly Parton said about “World on Fire,” – which finds her expressing displeasure over the world’s current state and the often lack of social justice.
She can’t help but get discouraged by how humanity has lost faith in God, how people lost sight of common decency, the ever-present threat of violence, and of course, the grip of self-serving politicians – both the present and past.
When asked about the lyrics during her interview with NBC’s Today – particularly a few lines aiming at “greedy politicians” – the singer said she’s referring to those not trying hard enough. She added that modern politics’ divisive nature does not lend any solutions to today’s problems, and often, “they worry more about their party than they do about the people.”
Indeed, “World on Fire” is a message the world desperately needs to hear. The legendary artist hopes the poignant rock ballad will touch people to make a change for the better – by showing some love, making a stand, lending a hand, and healing the hurt. She demands to let kindness work and let hatred end.
Her impassioned remarks resonated with many fans, especially with today’s growing activism seeking political and social transformation. They admire her for using her platform to speak out.
“It’s really kinda about the times and how we can do a little better if we try to heal the divide and just get along a little better,” Parton said.
Dolly Parton’s Foray Into Rock And Roll
“World on Fire” serves as the lead single for Dolly Parton’s foray into rock and roll, Rockstar, which is set to be released on November 17. The much-anticipated rock album features nine originals and 21 cover versions of rock classics.
What’s even more exciting is that Parton has tapped what will be the most star-studded supporting cast for any album this year. For instance, her cover of “Let It Be” features Beatles’ surviving members, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr, alongside Mick Fleetwood and Peter Frampton.
She’s also joined by Sting on the Police’s stalker anthem “Every Breath You Take” while Pink and Brandi Carlile play a part in her version of the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
Of course, Parton’s rock album would never be complete without the reigning rock queen, her goddaughter Miley Cyrus, who will swing in on a cover of “Wrecking Ball.”
Other notable guests on Rockstar – which will be Parton’s 53rd studio album in a career that stretches back to 1967 – include Elton John, Chris Stapleton Kid Rock, and the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, among others.
Parton’s venture into rock music doesn’t come as an absolute surprise. In 2022, the iconic singer-songwriter was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which she initially declined, saying she didn’t feel deserving of the honor until she made a straightforward rock album. However, her stance later shifted, and she graciously accepted the nomination.
Indeed, even after all these years, Dolly Parton still rocks hard – and there’s no sign of her slowing down. So, tune in and listen to “World on Fire” by playing the video below.