Lil’ Nas X became a household name thanks to his country hit single “Old Town Road.” So when he visited the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge, he went back into his country bag and performed a remake of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”
Lil’ Nas X’s cover gives a different feel because he’s singing about an unconventional love triangle between himself as a gay man and his male partner and a woman. He’s begging a presumably straight woman not to snatch the love of his life away from him simply because she can. Being that we live in a homophobic world, a heterosexual relationship is more palatable, centered and there are no worries about being shamed. So in begging Jolene not take his man, he asking that she not lure his partner in with the promise of acceptance and safety.
“This song is kind of like beautifully sad, you know? I like the little twang, like the country twang in it. So I was like, ‘Lemme try this out,'” Lil’ Nas X said on BBC.
With the release of his debut album Montero, Lil’ Nas X said he learned to not hold back regarding speaking about his love life no matter the homophobia thrown his way.
“You’re getting a lot of stories about me,” he told People about his debut. “You’re getting a lot of stories about my past and where I want to be in my love life. But they’re also a bop. I feel like I finally found a great balance between being as real as possible within my music and making a hit song.”
The cover of “Jolene” comes after his first country hit “Old Town Road” hit a major milestone. It became the first track to ever sell 15 million units and be certified 15x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on September 17. The Billy Cyrus-assisted track still holds the title for having the longest stay atop of the Billboard Hot 100 Chart at 19 weeks.