About a week and a half after tragedy or heartbreak strikes, it is necessary to drag your empty shell of a soul out of its self-obsessed, self-loathing haze and force-feed it some artificial inspiration. But if getting drunk by yourself in the middle of the afternoon and listening to “I Will Survive” on repeat is just a bit too Bridget Jones for comfort, you might consider the video for Dolly Parton’s new single “Better Get to Livin’,” featuring the always dependably maniacal Amy Sedaris.
Perhaps the best thing about this video–and there are many, many good things–is the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sign at the very beginning that says “Dolly’s Circus of Human Emotions,” which, as we soon find out, is a consortium of distraught women who gather to be sternly berated by Amy Sedaris for their pathetic attitudes. And this is just in the first thirty seconds!
Amy plays various roles throughout the video, including the vaguely Jerri Blank-esque Envious Woman Dressed In Green, and a cross-eyed fortune teller. But Dolly is the real star as the ringleader of the Human Emotion Circus who’s “got a little voice down inside [her] that keeps [her] right on track.” This little voice presumably lives in her cleavage and offers terrible advice on plastic surgery.
The song itself is a solid, but middling pop-country offering with just enough decency to lay off the electric guitar and turn up the banjo and fiddle. It’s undeniably high gloss in every way, but Dolly is a life force, and anything coming out of her mouth almost certainly comes genuinely from the heart, which is why she can get away with lyrics like “You better stop whinin’, pinin’, get your dreams in line ‘n then just shine, design, refine ’til they come true.”
That being said, she’s still at her best when she ditches the sincere-but-boring motivational act and delves into the deep, dark, dark painful abyss of love and loss.