Album Mini-review: Valerie June — The Order of Time
File next to: Rhiannon Giddens, Ali Farka Touré, Shovels & Rope
If with The Order of Time, Valerie June Hockett sought to create a resolutely unclassifiable record, she’s succeeded beyond a doubt. For the Memphis-based singer-songwriter’s fourth full-length, she’s come up with a dozen tunes that will delight the adventurous listener, but likely confuse and disappoint anyone who wants a whole album in merely one (or two, or three) musical styles. While her nasal, Southern-accented voice seems right at home on the steeped-in-Americana “Long Lonely Road,” when she shifts gears to “Love You Once Made,” June is every bit as effective as she evokes memories of Aretha Franklin‘s Muscle Shoals, Alabama recordings. “Shake Down” filters field hollers through modern pop. A vaguely malevolent string arrangement and distorted electric guitar characterizes “If And.” “Astral Plane” is straightforward singer-songwriter pop. The stylistic shifts never let up, yet The Order of Time somehow ends up a cohesive musical statement.
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.