Better Day - Dolly Parton
Better Day Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 11 Ratings

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  • Summary: The legendary country starlet releases an album of all-new studio material.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. 91
    In the midst of hard economic times, the positive anthems that fill Better Day - all new material, no covers - come off as brilliant strategy, with some equally brilliant vocal performances.
  2. Jul 5, 2011
    Better Day is among her most stridently upbeat albums, a feisty antidote to uncertain times.
  3. Dec 9, 2011
    Parton has never sounded fresher or more spirited, and with "Somebody's Missing You" in particular, she shows she still knows how to write a timeless song.
  4. Jul 21, 2011
    Her daydreaming music doesn't have that much of a tolerance for daydreamers, actually. This is humanist, open-arms songwriting with a get-to-work-everybody mentality.
  5. Sep 8, 2011
    Dolly steps up as America's cheerleader, to help fight the recession blues. [Oct 2011, p.100]
  6. Aug 22, 2011
    Dolly has invited you to her hoe-down, and it would be churlish to refuse. Just remember to leave your brain at the barn door.
  7. Jun 30, 2011
    Best are her vocals – as strong, clear and distinct as ever – and the energy she infuses into the songs. If she's grown tired of her shtick, you'd never guess it.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Jul 2, 2011
    This is a great album for Dolly. Its original and surprisingly addictive. Dolly is still here and she's not going anywhere. The only flaw was her first single from the album. Expand
  2. Jul 19, 2011
    I didn't think Dolly Parton could get any better. Boy was I WRONG. This album is a MUST for all country music fans. The positive and upbeat messages are genuine and heart-felt. Parton delivers with clear, stunning vocals that have stood the test of time. Like a good wine, her voice seems to mellow and become even better to the pallet. It is a shame that mainstream country radio are not playing this type of material. I think the whole world would be a little bit better off with a daily dose of Ms. Parton's positive and uplifting perspective. Dolly, as long as you keep putting out this type of original material, I'll keep listening. Expand
  3. Jul 1, 2011
    A surprisingly good album from Dolly, especially considering that the first single "Together You and I" wasn't too good (it is too over-produced and Dolly's voice is drowned out). This is not indicative of the album as a whole though, which has a very unique sound (reminiscent of her bluegrass/country sound on "Hungry Again" and "Little Sparrow). Indeed, "Just Leaving," the second track from "Better Day," is as good as "Shine" from Little Sparrow, a song which earned her a Grammy nomination. Her duet with Kent Wells ("Holding Everything") is a runaway success as well, and it deserves to be a hit. Her voice sounds so wonderful on this track, and she sounds so happy and in her element. The vocal harmonies of "Just Leaving," where Dolly is joined by Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss, are also a highlight of this album.

    "The Sacrifice" articulates Dolly's new sound the best, I feel: It's modern country (the much billed "return to the mainstream") but tinged with a rootsy/bluegrass quality that gives it a noticeable edge from the mixture of sounds that were found on Backwoods Barbie.

    Not everything works: "Country is as Country Does," and the blues/gospel "Better Day" are nothing special, and her versions of the 9 to 5 tracks that occupy the end of the album are a bit hit and miss (the exception being "Let Love Grow," which is a wonderful conclusion to the album).