Written by Carole Bayer Sager and David Wolfert
Peak: #1 Country | #37 Pop | #12 Adult Contemporary
Dolly Parton’s first overtures to the pop market worked both musically and commercially. With “Heartbreaker,” the title track for her next album, she was tasked with maintaining her success on both the country and pop charts.
At first, the record is promising, with a gorgeous vocal performance that highlights her upper range. But we get the first warning signs when backing vocals echo the word “lovers,” right before the song moves into a remarkably bland chorus.
The biggest mistake that “Heartbreaker” makes is to surround her sweet, lilting vocals with a sugary production. The overall effect is too sappy because there isn’t enough contrast between the vocal and the backing music. If the chorus had a better hook, it might have all worked out. But it doesn’t, so it doesn’t.