"I'm country to the core," sings Dolly Parton on her latest album — and Better Day proves she's right. Dolly's high lonesome Tennessee drawl carries nearly five decades' worth of hitmaking history, and lord knows how many centuries worth of Smoky Mountains folk wisdom. Parton composed every song on here, which is a mixed blessing; she can write tart and tight, but on love songs like "Together You and I" her purple pen gets the best of her. She's at her finest when she turns up the sass: calling BS on both callous lovers ("Get Out and Stay Out"), and, in "In the Meantime," on the Rapture-obsessed doomsayers who've "been talkin' 'bout the end of time/Ever since time began."
Listen to "In The Meantime":
• Random Notes, Rock's Hottest Photos