Album Review: Dolly Parton’s ‘I Believe In You’

Leave it to Dolly Parton to create a children’s album that reaches greater depth than most. The country legend releases her first album if its kind, I Believe in You, on Oct. 13, offering her young listeners a whole lot of fun with plenty of love mixed in.

From top to bottom, the album is filled with upbeat, energetic songs that instantly make listeners want to move, with Parton utilizing a chorus of horns to add a cinematic element that brings the project to new heights. Friendship and strength are just two of the album’s major themes, coming to life on tracks like “Together Forever” and a “Friend Like You.” It’s the type of album that instantly puts fans in a good mood with its refreshing sense of positivity and Parton’s voice sounding as soothing and comforting as ever as she preaches lessons everyone can all learn from.

In the midst of all the fun, Parton is conscious in making teachings of love and acceptance a dominant presence, such as the importance of manners like “please” and “excuse me” in “You Can Do It.” “It’s not about how big you are, being big don’t make you smart, but you can be big and smart as well, if you learn your lessons well,” Parton sings to her little friends. Further instilling valuable lessons in her young listeners, the country star encourages resistance of life’s negativities using the tools of love and faith in the empowering “Brave Little Soldier” while teaching the significance of hard work and respecting your parents on “Responsibility.”

She really tugs at the heartstrings with the sentimental “Chemo Hero,” an interesting, yet humbling, selection on the album, with Parton shining a light on those battling cancer and turning a heartbreaking situation into uplifting music. It’s the type of song fans wouldn’t expect on a children’s album, but it’s a welcomed surprise with its message of hope that focuses on the heroic nature of cancer patients and their families.

A true highlight on the album comes with the inclusion of one of Parton’s classic hits, “Coat of Many Colors.” The story of her favorite multi-colored patchwork work that was stitched together with love by her mother is the perfect addition, as it fits the album’s elements of love and strength while also offering young listeners a glimpse into the singer’s own struggles growing up. She continues this theme of acceptance on “Makin’ Fun Ain’t Funny,” a respectable anti-bullying anthem. “In the end, bullies never, ever get respect from anyone, let’s celebrate our differences instead of making fun,” Parton passionately sings.

Like most children’s albums, I Believe in You, is warm and light-hearted with plenty of life lessons thrown in, but Parton takes it a step further. She thinks outside of the box while digging deep into her own values to share with her impressionable audience. And in typical Dolly fashion, it’ll leave fans, young and old, feeling inspired and ready to take on the world.