Beyoncé Fans Aren't Happy About Her Major Changes To Dolly Parton's Jolene

Beyoncé has been teasing her country album since February 2024 and for good reason — the record is a stark departure from her signature sound. While the iconic star has dabbled in plenty of different musical expressions over the years, spanning pop, soul, R&B, and hip-hop, the idea of a country album from Beyoncé caught most people off guard. But the "Single Ladies" hitmaker unsurprisingly delivered 27 impeccable tracks on "Cowboy Carter," which dropped on March 29, 2024, including a cover of a Dolly Parton classic.

In the realm of country music, Parton's influence is undeniable and inevitable, and her hit song "Jolene" holds a special place in the genre's history. Interestingly, the Queen of Country, as Parton is often referred to, has always wanted Beyoncé to cover the track. While we're thrilled that Parton finally got her wish, some of Beyoncé's fans aren't too happy about the singer's major changes to the iconic lyrics.

In the original version, Parton sings about a red-haired bank teller whose flirtatious advances caught her husband's eye, a story the country star shared in a 2008 NPR interview. "It was kinda like a running joke between us — when I was saying, 'Hell, you're spending a lot of time at the bank. I don't believe we've got that kind of money,'" Parton quipped at the time. Beyoncé's rendition took a very different approach. Rather than pleading with Jolene not to steal her man, presumably rapper Jay-Z, Beyoncé warns the woman to stay in her lane. The change didn't sit well with many listeners, who described it as disappointing.

Dolly Parton seems to love Beyoncé's fiery new take on 'Jolene'

Beyoncé's version of "Jolene" immediately sets a different tone from Dolly Parton's original, with the singer asserting dominance right off the bat. In fact, the only real similarity between Parton's original and Beyoncé's cover in terms of lyrics is the repetition of the name "Jolene." Otherwise, Beyoncé goes about everything else in her own way, singing, "We've been deep in love for twenty years / I raised that man / I raised his kids / I know my man better than he knows himself."

Although Parton herself sent Beyoncé an encouraging message after the artist's country breakout hit, "Texas Hold 'Em," debuted and undoubtedly gave the "Jolene" cover the green light before it was released, not everybody was as thrilled with her fiery reinterpretation. "I feel like she tried to make an empowered flip on the lyrics, but just ended up with a different flavor of cheated-on wife," argued one Reddit user in a subreddit discussing the lyrics. Many more echoed the sentiment, even labeling Beyoncé's take on "Jolene" as a "pick me anthem."

It's worth noting that the "Halo" singer isn't the only artist to cover the country classic in more recent times, as Lil Nas X took "Jolene" for a spin in the "BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge" back in 2021. Parton felt honored about Lil Nas X's cover, though he notably stuck to the original lyrics. Still, the Queen of Country gave Beyoncé's album a shout-out on her Instagram Stories, per Entertainment Tonight, so we have no doubt she loves the rendition for what it is.