Internet Exploring

Songs That Sound Just As Good Played at 33rpm

When Dolly Parton turns into Roy Orbison, and other strange gems.

by Jose Bautista
17 August 2017, 8:32am

This article originally appeared on Noisey Australia.

Like most people on the Internet, you've likely heard Dolly Parton's classic 1974 hit "Jolene" played at 33rpm. Sure, at first it seems like a bit of a novelty, but it really does bring out special elements of the song, like the guitar and bass. Plus, Dolly's high soprano ends up sounding like Roy Orbison or Tracy Chapman.

Then of course, there's the lyrics that are made clearer by the different pitch. "He talks about you in his sleep, And there's nothing I can do to keep. From crying when he calls your name."

Dolly, stop it. You're killing us slowly here.

Dolly isn't the only country performer to sound haunting when played at 33rpm. Take Wanda Jackson's dark 1961 b-side "Funnel of Love" that, when slowed right down, turns into melodic gravel.

Of course it's not just country artists that have the monopoly on cooked wonkiness. Here are some more choice cuts that sound just as good when slowed down to 33rpm.

The First 30 Seconds of Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer"

David Byrne's vocals get kind of screwy but the introduction to this Talking Heads classic is off the hook. We're surprised that it hasn't been sampled by now.

Hall and Oates - "I Can't Go For That"

This 1981 yacht rock anthem comes with slowed down sax which makes for even calmer sailing waters.

Stevie Wonder - "Superstitious"

"Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Stevie 'Issac Hayes' Wonder".

Napalm Death - "Mentally Murdered"

When British grindcore lords Napalm Death released their Mentally Murdered EP in 1989 they probably didn't expect the lead track to be later uploaded on YouTube at 33rpm. Even at the slowed down speed the death metal vocals of Barney Greenway are insane.

Blue Oyster Cult - "Don't Fear the Reaper"

Even cowbells sound amazing when someone has forgotten to change the switch on the record player.

David Bowie - "Fame"

Just try listening to this and walking in a straight line.

blue oyster cult
Dolly Parton