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Valerie June's cohesive musical statement

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Valerie June, "The Order of Time"
  • Valerie June, "The Order of Time"
If Valerie June was aiming to create a resolutely unclassifiable record, The Order of Time succeeds beyond a doubt. The Memphis singer-songwriter’s fourth full-length will delight the adventurous listener, but likely confuse and disappoint anyone who wants a full album with 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 recordings. “Shakedown” filters field hollers through modern pop, while a vaguely malevolent string arrangement and distorted electric guitar characterize “If And.” “Astral Plane,” meanwhile, is straightforward singer-songwriter pop. The stylistic shifts never let up, yet The Order of Time somehow ends up a cohesive musical statement.
File next to: Rhiannon Giddens, Ali Farka Touré, Shovels & Rope

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