Bitch: A Feminist Response to Pop Culture - - MUSIC REVIEWS - Va­lerie June { con­cord mu­sic Group } —chanelle adams

The only con­stant we can count on is time; stay­ing true to our hopes and dreams is not as straight­for­ward. Over the past few years, Va­lerie June has ex­pe­ri­enced a num­ber of per­sonal and med­i­cal set­backs, in­clud­ing the loss of her fa­ther and a di­a­betes di­ag­no­sis, but her 12-track al­bum, The Order of Time, is a tes­ta­ment to the no­tion that some­times good things come to those who wait.

Since her de­but on MTV’S $5 Cover in 2009, June’s dis­tinc­tive vo­cals and down-to-earth lyrics have gained her a grow­ing fan­base. In 2010, she re­leased Va­lerie June and the Ten­nessee Ex­press, a col­lab­o­ra­tive ep with Old Crow Medicine Show, and in 2013, she crowd­funded her first solo al­bum, Pushin’ Against a Stone. June’s lat­est re­lease, how­ever, is her most valiant.

Many of the songs on The Order of Time sprouted from seeds planted long ago. Pol­ished and pa­tient, th­ese un­rushed tracks and lyrics have themes of growth and vul­ner­a­bil­ity. As June com­mented in one of her can­did, vul­ner­a­ble in­ter­views, “some­times we for­get to feel.” The Order of Time en­cour­ages lis­ten­ers to thaw out their trep­i­da­tion and al­low their ten­der­ness to ger­mi­nate.

At times stoic and stead­fast and at oth­ers doubt­ful and re­flec­tive, June main­tains a re­lat­able and ap­proach­able aura through her vari­able tones. The al­bum’s two sin­gles, “Shake­down” and “As­tral Plane,” are play­ful in their range of pace, one a buoy­ant boot­stomp­ing an­them and the other a me­an­der­ing bal­lad about self-love. Some­times June boldly de­clares her­self in the present mo­ment, like when she sings, “Where I am is where I’ll be,” on “Long Lonely Road.” Other times, June’s lyrics bring a sense of ur­gency, re­mind­ing us that ex­pe­ri­ences, in­clud­ing re­la­tion­ships, are time sen­si­tive: “Some things in life hap­pen too slow/ One thing for sure hap­pened too fast/ If you ain’t loving your wo­man/ Some­one else will,” she croons on “If And.”

June’s vo­cals pro­pel the mu­sic for­ward, no mat­ter what song it is. The trum­pets, ban­jos, claps, and cym­bals fall into har­monic for­ma­tion with her voice. Whether you need a guided, hyp­notic lin­ger­ing on the past or a re­minder to hover in the ever-so-present, The Order of Time is an al­bum you’ll al­ways re­turn to. As for the fu­ture? Only time will tell.

The Order of Time en­cour­ages lis­ten­ers to thaw out their trep­i­da­tion and al­low their ten­der­ness to ger­mi­nate.

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