Pop Culture Icon Dolly Parton’s Lyrics Match Up With Her Positive Persona

Study indicates that the lyrics of pop culture icon Dolly Parton are consistent with her upbeat persona.

Parton defies the trend of more depressing lyrics in pop and country music.

According to a Wilfrid Laurier University study published this month, Dolly Parton’s upbeat persona is consistent with the words of her songs.

The study counted the positive words in her music to assist researchers gauge the mood of her songs, using what it called unique “linguistic inquiry and word count” software.

Judy Eaton, a psychology professor and the study’s author, told CBC News, “So [Parton] talks about suicide, she talks about mental illness.”

Although she may not necessarily be thinking just happy thoughts—Nine to Five is a song about social injustice—we were intrigued by the language she employs to express her thoughts. According to Eaton, country and mainstream song lyrics have generally become more depressing.

Due to Dolly’s public persona of positivity, Eaton stated, “we were curious to see whether Dolly sort of fits that downward trend of positivity and we kind of assumed maybe she wouldn’t.”

They discovered that Parton had maintained a cheerful attitude for more than 50 years that she has been recording music.

Dolly Parton is one of the most adored country music artists and exudes cheerfulness in public, but do her lyrics reflect this outlook? Professor Judy Eaton of Wilfrid Laurier University dove in to learn more.

According to Amanda Kind, a vocal coach and country music performer from Waterloo, “I believe there’s kind of a general notion that the world should defend Dolly Parton at all costs, and I think her happiness, joy, and radiance absolutely contribute to that.”

Kind claimed that what appeals to her about Parton and the song is her capacity “to articulate profoundly emotive and universal circumstances in ways that seem uplifting.”

The study’s results didn’t surprise Kind since “the energy she exudes in interviews and the way she talks about music and other artists is pretty much naturally positive all the time,” he said.
Kind observed that she appeared to be someone who frequently sought for the good in circumstances.

Parton as a role model.

Avnee Sharma, a doctoral student, and associate psychology professor Danielle Law are part of Eaton’s team, which she described as “positive psychologists” who study “what makes individuals thrive?”

They chose Parton as a subject because of this approach.

We would talk about positive psychology and what constitutes a successful model of flourishing, said Eaton. “And Dolly’s name kept coming up because she is such a wonderful example of someone who genuinely loves positive,” the speaker continued.
Michelle Letwin, the branch president of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, described her as “simply such a giver and such a person that actually lived and breathed being able to make a contribution in other people’s lives.”

The Brant neighborhood library in Guelph encourages literacy by giving children under five years old free books.

I believe that what makes her so legendary and such a great person, why she’s enduring the test of time and just being a part of many generations, is the fact that she started with her music and then used that celebrity and that recognition for her to make a difference.

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