Headphones While I Work

As the work piles up higher and higher, I have to say I am saved by my headphones. How could I possibly make it through a 14 hour work day without music and audiobooks to keep me company?

One video I want to share with you is one I have been listening to a lot lately. I first discovered it on We Hunted the Mammoth, and I was properly amazed at the time.

What happens when you slow down Dolly Parton’s Jolene to 33rpm?

Amazeballs, that’s what happens.


If you don’t know who Dolly Parton is and/or have never heard the song, you have to hear the original first to fully appreciate how very cool that is.



There is a genius to a song that can be messed with and still sound awesome, just in a different way. I’ve been mumbling this song under my breath all day, it’s only a matter of time until someone asks me who Jolene is and why I keep saying her name.


  1. says

    What happens when you slow down Dolly Parton’s Jolene to 33rpm?

    Amazing. There’s so much to unpack there.

    As the work piles up higher and higher, I have to say I am saved by my headphones.

    Short of a really quiet workplace, they’re the best. When I wrote my final thesis I’d book a students’ workroom and take my big headphones. Easily distrac -oh, look, squirrel!
    I cannot tell you how much I’m looking forward to finally getting an office at home…

  2. says

    That’s super awesome at 33!! OMG!

    I wonder, if you play it backwards, if you can hear the lyrics from “Billy Jean” or something satanic. For one thing, we almost lose the gender cue that it’s a woman’s voice, and all of the coyness is gone. Interesting how much those overtones affect our interpretation.

    I occasionally fart around with groove synths and have discovered often that you can get amazing sounds out of them if you play the grooves at 1/24th speed (24bpm, that kind of thing) the brain just quadruples your experiential speed and the sounds sound so fat, low, and funky.

    I like the Belle Starr cover of “Jolene” – there’s more interesting stuff going on there. And Miranda Mulholland on violin. Coincidentally, Kendel Carson (who’s also in the band) makes a good standin for Jolene. Anyhow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYvWVNkbGVo

  3. says

    I love the “pre mic control days” lip-sync by Dolly. With the way she’s always got the mic a different distance from her mouth, that would sound utter crap if it weren’t just coming in off a studio track.

  4. Ice Swimmer says

    In the 33 rpm version, she sounds like a male singer, hard to pinpoint who, but 1970s Ozzy Osbourne trying to sing like Roy Orbison could be close. Scott McKenzie is also kind of there.

  5. says

    Ice Swimmer@#6:
    The violin solo is powerful in the Belle Starr version.

    Miranda Mulholland is a goddess; if you search for some of the clips of her on youtube, like the “b minor reel” she pretty much blows everyone away.

  6. says

    Here’s an actual genderbend version by The White Stripes.
    I think it’s really interesting what happens to a song if sung by by another gender. I never knew that Aretha Franklin’s kick-ass “Respect” was originally by Otis Redding. What a hell lot of difference between between a man singing about his sweet money and demanding respect from a woman, and a woman doing the same.
    Or the different connotations Melissa Etheridge’s songs take when you know the “you” is a woman (and how she never actually mentions the gender of the love interests)

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