Singer-songwriter Amber Coffman has released a cover of Dolly Parton’s version of “Hard Candy Christmas,” which was originally recorded in 1982 as part of the soundtrack for the 1982 film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. This song was originally written by Carol Hall for the 1978 musical of the same name.
“Hard Candy Christmas” is a reference to Christmases when poor families could only afford small gifts like candy canes for their children during a rough year. The song’s narrator discusses going through a rough patch during an important crossroad in their life, comparing it to a “hard candy Christmas,” which is bittersweet, yet optimistic. Coffman’s vocals and its stripped back introduction give the song a slight indie touch, but it gradually progresses into more of a country influence during the chorus.
Coffman was a member of The Dirty Projectors from 2006 until 2013. Her debut studio album City of No Reply was recorded in 2015, with her former boyfriend and Dirty Projector’s lead vocalist David Longstreth. This studio album was delayed for years, but eventually released via Columbia Records in 2017 and featured the singles “Nobody Knows” and “No Coffee.”
“While there are some stunning moments in City of No Reply, many of the tracks seem to lack focus, both in depth and melody,” reviewer Ilana Tel-Oren explained. “While it’s possible to be ‘pop’ without completely selling out, sometimes the melodies in pop music all start to sound the same, which is an issue on this album. For an ear that craves melodic lines, this album won’t particularly leave one coming back for more.”