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Dolly Parton Talks About New Rock Song ‘World on Fire’

Dolly Parton has a new sound that comes with a new message.

The country music icon is out with a new single, “World on Fire,” from her upcoming rock ‘n’ roll album, “Rockstar.” As the lyrics reveal, the song takes direct aim at politics in today’s world.

“Don’t get me started on politics / Now how are we to live in a world like this/ Greedy politicians present and past / They wouldn’t know the truth if it bit ‘em in the a–,” she sings at one point in the song, which she performed May 11 while co-hosting the ACM Awards.

So, who exactly is the “Jolene” singer talking about?

Dolly Parton isn’t backing down from calling out politicians in her new single, “World on Fire.”TODAY

“All of (the politicians). Any of ‘em,” she said in an interview with TODAY’s Jacob Soboroff that aired May 15. “I don’t think any of ‘em are trying hard enough. I’m sure we’re all trying, but I just really think often that they worry more about their party than they do about the people.

“If we just do what we felt was the right thing, rather than who’s going to lose, or who’s going to win this, or who’s going to look better if they do this. None of them are working from the heart.”

Indeed, Parton is not shying away from making a point.

“This is a song I felt very inspired to write. I think it speaks about everything and to everyone this day and time,” she said in a statement on her website. “I hope it is something that will touch you and maybe touch enough people to want to make a change for the better.”

“World on Fire” is not necessarily the type of song fans may expect from Parton, who was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2022, but it’s in line with the change that appears to be coming with “Rockstar.”

The album features her covering 21 rock classics and performing nine original tracks, with some help from other legends, including Pink, Elton John, Sting and Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, who join her on “Let It Be.”

“It is fantastic,” she said of her collaboration with McCartney and Starr during her TODAY interview. “Paul was so gracious. And he played the piano and he sang on it. They just killed it.”

Parton says each song on “Rockstar” is inspired by her husband, Carl Dean, who has a particular fondness for Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” which Parton covers on the album. She says her husband didn’t like her first attempt at covering the classic track years ago, but that didn’t stop her.

“He always loved the ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ He loved Led Zeppelin. And years ago, I did ‘Stairway to Heaven’ as a bluegrass, a gospel thing,” she said. “And Carl, I played it to him and he said, ‘I think that’s a little more like ‘Stairwell to Hell’ than ‘Stairway to Heaven!’”

“He didn’t think that anybody should do ‘Stairway to Heaven’ but Led Zeppelin. ‘Who’s gonna have the nerve to do that?’ And I thought, ‘Well, I’m going to have the nerve.’”

While “World on Fire” is out now, fans will have to wait a little while for “Rockstar.” The album is due out Nov. 17.

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