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  • Dave K. 7:00 pm on 2017/09/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , hot wax, ,   

    The Best New Vinyl to Spin This September 

    September is turning into one of our best months for vinyl yet! We’ve got one of the best Jimi Hendrix retrospectives coming in this month, along with new Foo Fighters and Van Morrison albums, plus records from Jack Johnson, the National, Steve Martin, Beyoncé, and Gregg Allman’s final album, plus the soundtrack to box office smash Wonder Woman. Be sure to check them out, and keep your eye on Barnes and Noble’s Vinyl Store for more great records every month.

    All the Light Above It Too, by Jack Johnson
    Jack Johnson’s newest album pairs his mellow, soft rock style with sharp, often political lyrics inspired by surfing, camping, and the documentary Smog of the Sea. The album’s lead single, “My Mind Is For Sale,” was specifically inspired by (and is overtly critical of) Donald Trump’s public statements concerning pollution and global warming, and “Fragments” is about ocean pollution and environmental responsibility. Johnson promotes stewardship of the environment in both his creative and personal lives, but this album never gets preachy, and Johnson never drops his laid-back vocal style. In fact, he sounds downright relaxed on “Sunsets For Somebody Else.”

    Concrete and Gold, by Foo Fighters
    Foo Fighters are officially nine studio albums deep with the release of Concrete and Gold, the band’s first album since their hiatus following Dave Grohl’s 2015 leg injury. Originally planning to take a year off from music to heal his leg, Grohl started writing songs for this album after six months of physical therapy, eventually collaborating with pop producer Greg Kurstin. Because of this, and their decision to record at EastWest Studios, this album has a lot of pop music cameos; Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman, Inara George, the Kills’ Alison Mosshart, and Paul McCartney (who drums on one track) all appear on this fantastic return to form by the Foo Fighters.

    Wonder Woman Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
    Wonder Woman wasn’t just a commercial and critical success, it shattered records for films directed by women and renewed fans’ enthusiasm for the DC cinematic universe. Obviously, a film this impressive needs a soundtrack to match, and Wonder Woman has got the goods. Composed by Rupert Gregson-Williams—who also worked on several projects for Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions—the soundtrack keeps to the moody, melodic, and broad gestures of other recent DC films (especially Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), but doesn’t rest on those laurels. The proud, majestic “No Man’s Land” and “Hell Hath No Fury” are already fan favorites, as is Sia and Labyrinth’s “To Be Human.”

    Roll with the Punches, by Van Morrison
    Van Morrison’s newest album, which features retired professional wrestler Billy Two Rivers on the cover, is largely a collection of the singer-songwriter’s favorite soul and blues classics. Morrison curated the tracklist down to songs he enjoys performing live, and the effort shows: there’s an undeniable passion in particular in his version of Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home to Me” and Bo Diddley’s “I Can Tell” and “Ride on Josephine.” He does a great job with Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Automobile Blues,” too, showing particular skill with that era of blues. In addition to these standards, the album features five new original compositions.

    Sleep Well Beast, by the National
    This album is the National’s seventh studio effort, and they’re slowly introducing electronic elements to their rootsy, Americana-tinged indie pop sound. If you’re worried those changes might make their music colder and more obtuse, don’t be; there’s still plenty of emotion and clever songwriting on this album. “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness,” chosen as the album’s lead single, is a tense, piano-driven song with a surprisingly gnarly guitar solo, while “Carin at the Liquor Store” is influenced by Leonard Cohen in the best possible way. The same can be said for “Guilty Party,” which will very likely be the post-breakup anthem of 2017.

    The Long-Awaited Album, by Steve Martin
    Legendary comedian/actor/playwright Steve Martin has many interests, and playing the banjo is one of them. Martin has released a few bluegrass music albums over the years, but he’s never sounded better than on this record, where he’s backed by the Steep Canyon Rangers. As one would expect, Martin is a clever, tongue-in-cheek lyricist—“Caroline” is all the proof you need of that—but he’s a very talented banjo picker as well, and the Rangers provide vocal harmonies and lush instrumentation that complement, rather than crowd, his abilities. The curiously titled “Office Supplies” is another standout track that shows off how well Martin and the Rangers work together.

    Southern Blood, by Gregg Allman
    Sadly, Gregg Allman’s eighth studio album was his last one, as the legendary country rocker passed away from liver cancer in May 2017. The album became a very personal one for Allman, and is a collection of songs written by his friends, who includes Bob Dylan’s “Going Going Gone” and the Grateful Dead’s “Black Muddy River,” as well as blues standards like Willie Dixon’s “I Love the Life I Live” and Jackson Browne’s “Song for Adam,” which features a cameo by Browne himself. Allman’s trademark honey-sweet guitar tone and homespun vocals lend an unexpected optimism to this album. Rather than sing about death, Allman is, in his own way, explaining his life as it reaches the end.

    Lemonade, by Beyoncé
    Lemonade took the pop world, and specifically the internet, by storm when it was released in April 2016. It has the rare distinction of being both a concept album and a visual album, given that it was accompanied by an hour-long film on HBO. Unsurprisingly, it’s up for Album of the Year, based on both the strength of singles like “Freedom,” “All Night,” and the Grammy-nominated “Formation,” and because of its obvious ambition. With Lemonade, Beyoncé showed the world she’s more than just a mega-successful pop culture star who makes radio-friendly R&B music. She’s also making deeper, more genuine art.

    Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix
    There are a lot of Jimi Hendrix compilations out there, which is to be expected for one of the most influential guitarists of all time. What makes Experience Hendrix unique is that it looks beyond 1968, including unfinished tracks that reveal the R&B/soul-oriented direction Hendrix was going in before his death. But don’t worry, it also has more popular, and still timeless, songs like “Foxy Lady,” “All Along the Watchtower,” “Hey Joe,” and his unkempt rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Really though, the Cry of Love-era tracks are the standouts here, and not just because they’re more obscure; they prove Hendrix was A talented and creatively limber musician who was just getting started.

    The post The Best New Vinyl to Spin This September appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Dave K. 4:00 pm on 2017/08/01 Permalink
    Tags: hot wax, , ,   

    The Best New Vinyl to Spin This August 

    The end of summer is on the horizon (boo!), but there’s no end to Barnes and Noble’s Vinyl Store selection! We’ve got a whole bunch of exclusives coming in this August, including the soundtracks for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Power Rangers, plus a selection of songs from Disney’s Descendants series. Also not to miss: the rerelease of Suicidal Tendencies’ excellent self-titled debut and one of Elvis Presley’s most underrated albums, Elvis is Back! Keep checking in for more record recommendations, our Vinyl Store never closes.

     Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (Exclusive version)
    Much like the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, the second has a fun, nostalgic soundtrack covering a wide expanse of pop music. Most of it is upbeat, like Cheap Trick’s “Surrender,” ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky,” and Sweet’s “Fox On the Run,” but not all of it is rock ‘n’ roll. Sam Cooke makes an appearance with “Bring It On Home to Me,” and Parliament’s “Flash Light” adds some much-appreciated funk to the proceedings. Fleetwood Mac, George Harrison, and obscure pop-country band Silver are included here, too, but this soundtrack’s real gem is “Guardians Hero,” sung by none other than David Hasselhoff.

    Power Rangers (Exclusive version)
    If you’re one of those people who needs music to wake up in the morning, you should consider the Power Rangers original soundtrack. The 26-track score was composed by Brian Tyler, who also composed the scores for Iron Man 3 and five Fast and the Furious movies, as well as ESPN’s NFL theme song. Needless to say, Tyler knows his way around action sequences, so there’s a ton of energy and tension in the Power Rangers soundtrack. Even quieter tracks don’t lose intensity or momentum, as exemplified by one of the score’s overall highlights, “It’s Morphing Time.” And if what gets you going is dramatic build, “The Final Stand” has that for days.

    Suicidal Tendencies, by Suicidal Tendencies
    A lot of words get used to describe legendary L.A. punk/thrash band Suicidal Tendencies, and “fun” isn’t usually one of them. But make no mistake, their self-titled debut—released in 1983—is really, really fun. Written before the band started taking themselves and their gang image too seriously, this record is full of hilarious and astute social commentary. “Institutionalized” has become a classic American anthem for the misunderstood, while “Subliminal” is weird and funny and one of the best parts of Grand Theft Auto V‘s soundtrack. The same can be said of the delightfully deranged “I Saw Your Mommy,” which shows off the band’s impressive speed.

    Best of the Descendants (B&N exclusive)
    This unique record, sold exclusively through Barnes & Noble, will appeal to pop fans and Disneyphiles alike. The Descendants musical franchise (which includes a TV series and a few movies) follows the teenage children of Maleficent, Snow White’s Queen Grimhilde, Jafar, and Cruella De Vil. “Rotten to the Core” mixes EDM and dubstep, and “If Only” is a strong electropop ballad that wouldn’t sound out of place on Top 40 radio. “Set It Off” has the most energy, mixing EDM with Broadway-style ensemble singing, something only Disney could pull off.

    Elvis is Back, by Elvis Presley
    This album was a special one for Elvis, as it was the first he recorded after serving two years in the Army. Although it didn’t get much love from critics when it was released in 1960, time has been kind to it. For one thing, Elvis received vocal training in the Army and added a full octave to his already impressive vocal range, giving extra heft to his performances of “Make Me Know It” and “Thrill of Your Love.” In fact, “Reconsider Baby” and “Like a Baby” are among the best blues vocals he ever recorded. This is the record that really kicked off the King’s transition from rockabilly teen idol to bonafide adult pop star.

    The post The Best New Vinyl to Spin This August appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Dave K. 7:03 pm on 2017/05/31 Permalink
    Tags: , , hot wax, , ,   

    The Best New Vinyl to Spin This June 

    June is a big month here at Barnes & Noble’s Vinyl Store! First of all, this year marks the 20th anniversary of Radiohead’s career-changing album OK Computer, and a special vinyl release has been prepared for the occasion. We’ve also got exclusive records from rock legend Chuck Berry (pressed on limited edition white vinyl) and gospel/pop legend Mavis Staples, plus new records from Sheryl Crow, the Chainsmokers, Halsey, and Lorde. Jump headfirst into summer with these records, and keeping checking back for more additions to the Vinyl Store!

    Melodrama, by Lorde
    Lorde joins a handful of her pop music peers in releasing a concept album, Melodrama, as her sophomore effort. The album tells the story of a house party, and is also an album about being alone and Lorde’s own post-adolescence. Her growth as an artist was expressed in Melodrama‘s lead single, the surprising piano ballad “Liability,” which replaces the drums and glowing synth of her previous album with minimal production to emphasize her shaky, but still powerful, voice. The other lead single, “Green Light,” starts out with just piano, but blossoms into perky, jangly pop that sounds a lot like Florence and the Machine.

    Memories…Do Not Open, by the Chainsmokers
    For all the press the Chainsmokers have been getting, you might be surprised to learn that Memories…Do Not Open is their first proper full-length album. You’ll also be surprised by how much of a departure it is from the EDM-pop they’ve released prior to this. A lot of the songs on Memories are smooth, mid-tempo ballads, with lyrics focused more on selfishness and regret than partying. Fortunately, the Chainsmokers adapt well to this alteration in their sound, and prove to be just as accessible in collaborations with Coldplay (“Something Just Like This”) as with their standard dance material (“Break Up Every Night”).

    Beauty and the Beast Soundtrack
    The soundtrack for the 2017 live action Beauty and the Beast film revitalizes the original 1991 score by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, adding some new songs and celebrity voices. Kevin Kline’s performance on “How Does a Moment Last Forever (Music Box)” is as charming as you’d expect, as is the combination of Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Ian McKellen on “Be My Guest.” Celine Dion also contributes on “How Does a Moment Last Forever,” paying tribute to what that song did for her career. The best track on this record, though, is Ariana Grande and John Legend’s modern take on “Beauty and the Beast.”

    Be Myself, by Sheryl Crow
    If you were worried Sheryl Crow’s detour into country music was permanent, don’t worry; Be Myself is a return to her 1990s sound, with just enough Nashville soul in the mix to keep things groovy. The production is slick without sounding fake, and Crow’s lyrics are refreshingly honest and mature. The band backing her up is no joke, and may remind you of Bonnie Raitt’s “Love Letter” era in how tight and polished they are. The rhythm of “Halfway There” will have you dancing before you know what hit you, and “Heartbeat Away” builds into a punchy chorus with a fun, and surprisingly sleazy, blues guitar sound.

    I’ll Take You There, by Mavis Staples
    I’ll Take You There was an all-star concert staged to honor the career of singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples. As one of the original Staple Singers, Mavis was part of the most influential gospel group in American music history, and became a voice of the civil rights movement as well. Her music influenced every performer on this concert recording, including Keb’ Mo’, the recently departed Gregg Allman, Eric Church, Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Taj Mahal, Joan Osborne, Widespread Panic, and Bonnie Raitt. And, of course, there’s Mavis Staples herself, who still manages to outshine them all.

    Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, by Halsey
    Halsey’s brand of catchy electropop is inspired by alternative rock (Brand New, Panic! At the Disco, Nirvana) and hip-hop (Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Slick Rick), so you’ll find elements of both in her upcoming album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. Much like her previous record, Badlands, this is a concept album, one that tells the story of two lovers in a futuristic limbo. Concept albums are usually an established artist’s excuse to experiment, but Halsey is using this one to prove she can write radio-friendly pop. Judging by the strength of the album’s two singles, “Now or Never” and “Strangers,” she definitely can.

    Chuck, by Chuck Berry
    The late Chuck Berry’s final album, Chuck, could have been written at the height of his popularity in the 1950s, when he practically fell to Earth from outer space with a style all his own. Berry’s approach to songwriting, his riffs, and even his voice hadn’t changed much since that era. This is a good thing, because while most of his peers were putting out albums full of covers, Chuck is full of new songs, like “Big Boys,” “Wonderful Woman,” and “Lady B. Goode,” which references his biggest hit. And while Chuck was never known as a great bandleader, his band on this album—which included his children, Chuck, Jr., and Ingrid Berry—was top notch.

    OK Computer (20th Anniversary), by Radiohead
    Before OK Computer, which came out two decades ago, Radiohead was one of many seemingly interchangeable post-grunge bands with introspective lyrics and sluggish guitars. OK Computer changed all that, setting a new, more experimental and atmospheric path for the band’s career and influencing more artists than their previous record, The Bends, ever could have. Songs like “Paranoid Android” and “Karma Police” were not only longer than traditional rock singles, they had weird, abstract lyrics and layered production that few of the band’s fans (or anyone else) saw coming. As both a pop music artifact and a predictor of 21st-century indie music trends, this album lives up to the hype.

    The post The Best New Vinyl to Spin This June appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Dave K. 7:03 pm on 2017/05/31 Permalink
    Tags: , , hot wax, , ,   

    The Best New Vinyl to Spin This June 

    June is a big month here at Barnes & Noble’s Vinyl Store! First of all, this year marks the 20th anniversary of Radiohead’s career-changing album OK Computer, and a special vinyl release has been prepared for the occasion. We’ve also got exclusive records from rock legend Chuck Berry (pressed on limited edition white vinyl) and gospel/pop legend Mavis Staples, plus new records from Sheryl Crow, the Chainsmokers, Halsey, and Lorde. Jump headfirst into summer with these records, and keeping checking back for more additions to the Vinyl Store!

    Melodrama, by Lorde
    Lorde joins a handful of her pop music peers in releasing a concept album, Melodrama, as her sophomore effort. The album tells the story of a house party, and is also an album about being alone and Lorde’s own post-adolescence. Her growth as an artist was expressed in Melodrama‘s lead single, the surprising piano ballad “Liability,” which replaces the drums and glowing synth of her previous album with minimal production to emphasize her shaky, but still powerful, voice. The other lead single, “Green Light,” starts out with just piano, but blossoms into perky, jangly pop that sounds a lot like Florence and the Machine.

    Memories…Do Not Open, by the Chainsmokers
    For all the press the Chainsmokers have been getting, you might be surprised to learn that Memories…Do Not Open is their first proper full-length album. You’ll also be surprised by how much of a departure it is from the EDM-pop they’ve released prior to this. A lot of the songs on Memories are smooth, mid-tempo ballads, with lyrics focused more on selfishness and regret than partying. Fortunately, the Chainsmokers adapt well to this alteration in their sound, and prove to be just as accessible in collaborations with Coldplay (“Something Just Like This”) as with their standard dance material (“Break Up Every Night”).

    Beauty and the Beast Soundtrack
    The soundtrack for the 2017 live action Beauty and the Beast film revitalizes the original 1991 score by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, adding some new songs and celebrity voices. Kevin Kline’s performance on “How Does a Moment Last Forever (Music Box)” is as charming as you’d expect, as is the combination of Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Ian McKellen on “Be My Guest.” Celine Dion also contributes on “How Does a Moment Last Forever,” paying tribute to what that song did for her career. The best track on this record, though, is Ariana Grande and John Legend’s modern take on “Beauty and the Beast.”

    Be Myself, by Sheryl Crow
    If you were worried Sheryl Crow’s detour into country music was permanent, don’t worry; Be Myself is a return to her 1990s sound, with just enough Nashville soul in the mix to keep things groovy. The production is slick without sounding fake, and Crow’s lyrics are refreshingly honest and mature. The band backing her up is no joke, and may remind you of Bonnie Raitt’s “Love Letter” era in how tight and polished they are. The rhythm of “Halfway There” will have you dancing before you know what hit you, and “Heartbeat Away” builds into a punchy chorus with a fun, and surprisingly sleazy, blues guitar sound.

    I’ll Take You There, by Mavis Staples
    I’ll Take You There was an all-star concert staged to honor the career of singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples. As one of the original Staple Singers, Mavis was part of the most influential gospel group in American music history, and became a voice of the civil rights movement as well. Her music influenced every performer on this concert recording, including Keb’ Mo’, the recently departed Gregg Allman, Eric Church, Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Taj Mahal, Joan Osborne, Widespread Panic, and Bonnie Raitt. And, of course, there’s Mavis Staples herself, who still manages to outshine them all.

    Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, by Halsey
    Halsey’s brand of catchy electropop is inspired by alternative rock (Brand New, Panic! At the Disco, Nirvana) and hip-hop (Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Slick Rick), so you’ll find elements of both in her upcoming album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. Much like her previous record, Badlands, this is a concept album, one that tells the story of two lovers in a futuristic limbo. Concept albums are usually an established artist’s excuse to experiment, but Halsey is using this one to prove she can write radio-friendly pop. Judging by the strength of the album’s two singles, “Now or Never” and “Strangers,” she definitely can.

    Chuck, by Chuck Berry
    The late Chuck Berry’s final album, Chuck, could have been written at the height of his popularity in the 1950s, when he practically fell to Earth from outer space with a style all his own. Berry’s approach to songwriting, his riffs, and even his voice hadn’t changed much since that era. This is a good thing, because while most of his peers were putting out albums full of covers, Chuck is full of new songs, like “Big Boys,” “Wonderful Woman,” and “Lady B. Goode,” which references his biggest hit. And while Chuck was never known as a great bandleader, his band on this album—which included his children, Chuck, Jr., and Ingrid Berry—was top notch.

    OK Computer (20th Anniversary), by Radiohead
    Before OK Computer, which came out two decades ago, Radiohead was one of many seemingly interchangeable post-grunge bands with introspective lyrics and sluggish guitars. OK Computer changed all that, setting a new, more experimental and atmospheric path for the band’s career and influencing more artists than their previous record, The Bends, ever could have. Songs like “Paranoid Android” and “Karma Police” were not only longer than traditional rock singles, they had weird, abstract lyrics and layered production that few of the band’s fans (or anyone else) saw coming. As both a pop music artifact and a predictor of 21st-century indie music trends, this album lives up to the hype.

    The post The Best New Vinyl to Spin This June appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Dave K. 7:40 pm on 2017/05/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , hot wax, , ,   

    The Best New Vinyl to Spin This May 

    May is a big month here at Barnes & Noble’s Vinyl Store, with new albums from Diana Krall, the Afghan Whigs, Zac Brown Band, Sheryl Crow, and the Chainsmokers, plus the solo debut of One Direction’s Harry Styles. We’ve also got a special vinyl edition of the Bob’s Burgers Music Album, plus a vinyl pressing of George Michael’s underrated second album and more.

    Turn Up the Quiet, by Diana Krall
    For this collection of timeless standards from the Great American Songbook, Diana Krall recorded with three different groups: a traditional jazz trio, a traditional jazz quintet, and a quintet with a fiddle player. The musicians’ familiarity with Krall and each other is immediately apparent, giving this album an intimacy that’s perfect for vinyl. As for the songs, Krall reminds us why her place in the modern jazz singer pantheon is secure with sultry vocal performances. In particular, her version of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” is worth the price of the record by itself, and “Blue Skies” has a smoky bassline and minimalist guitar work that blends perfectly with the piano.

    In Spades, by The Afghan Whigs
    In Spades is the much-anticipated follow-up to 2014’s Do to the Beast, and the Whigs’ first album since guitarist Dave Rosser was diagnosed with cancer. The band calls this album “spooky,” saying it explores the concept of memory, with the same melancholy, introspective tone as much of their previous work. The album’s two lead singles, “Demon in Profile” and “Arabian Heights,” are great, with “Demon” starting off as a moody piano/vocals duet before surging into the Whig’s trademark soulful rock. “Heights,” meanwhile, has great rising and falling composition guided by drummer Patrick Keeler’s complex percussion.

    The Bob’s Burgers Music Album
    Fans of Bob’s Burgers rejoice! The songs you love from the Fox animated series are finally getting a proper vinyl release, and it is glorious. Just about every quirky tunes from the show is included here, from Linda Belcher’s spontaneous (and often strange) songs to family musical numbers and montage songs. Highlights are the Tori Amos parody “Oil Spill,” Gene Belcher’s “The Snake Song,” the Winnie the Pooh-esque “Butts, Butts, Butts,” and our absolute favorite, “Lifting Up the Skirt of the Night.” Not only is the vinyl pressing of this record a Barnes & Noble exclusive, it comes with an autographed poster as well.

    Welcome Home, by Zac Brown Band
    Welcome Home gets its name from the band’s ambitions with this album. Known for their wide range of influences, many expected the Zac Brown Band to stick with the direction of their previous album, Jekyll & Hyde. However, they wanted to return to their folk/country roots, and even the strictest country purists will be pleased with the results. The first single, “My Old Man,” is a perfect example of what to expect here. Simple but effective guitar melodies drive a soft, sentimental song about fatherhood. “Real Thing” takes a similar approach to describing how it feels to hear one’s favorite song for the first time, and does an admirable job of it.

    Be Myself, by Sheryl Crow
    If you were worried Sheryl Crow’s detour into country music was permanent, don’t be; Be Myself is a return to her 1990s sound, with just enough Nashville soul in the mix to keep things groovy. The production is slick without sounding fake, and Crow’s lyrics are refreshingly honest and mature. The band backing her up is no joke, and may remind you of Bonnie Raitt’s “Love Letter” era in how tight and polished they are. The rhythm of “Halfway There” will have you dancing before you know what hit you, and “Heartbeat Away” builds into a punchy chorus with a fun, and surprisingly sleazy, blues guitar sound.

    Listen Without Prejudice, by George Michael
    The late George Michael’s second solo album, Listen Without Prejudice, is most often remembered as the basis for Michael suing his record label for lack of support. That’s a shame, because Michael wanted to show fans he was capable of writing more than pop dance music, and this record proved him right. There’s still some prototypical dance pop present here—“Freedom” and “Soul Free” are bangers even today—but the lead single, “Praying for Time,” is slower, acoustic-tinged, and honestly really good. The same can be said of “Waiting for That Day,” in which the acoustic guitar is even more prominent and the lyrics pay tribute to the Rolling Stones.

    Memories…Do Not Open, by the Chainsmokers
    For all the press the Chainsmokers have been getting, you may be surprised to learn that Memories…Do Not Open is their first proper full-length album. You may also be surprised by how much of a departure it is from the EDM-pop they’ve released prior to this. A lot of the songs on Memories are smooth, mid-tempo ballads, with lyrics focused more on selfishness and regret than partying. Fortunately, the Chainsmokers adapt well to this alteration in their sound, and prove to be just as accessible in collaboration with Coldplay (“Something Just Like This”) as with their standard dance material (“Break Up Every Night”).

    Harry Styles, by Harry Styles
    One Direction’s Harry Styles is striking out on his own, following confirmation in February that he’d left the band to pursue a solo career. His self-titled debut indicates he made the right move. Not only can Styles carry an album by himself, he has sharp pop songwriting instincts, and this album ranges from 1970s-style ballads to indie rock, with some spacey pop flourishes to keep things interesting. The album’s piano-driven lead single, “Sign of the Times,” signals both the album’s and Styles’ ambition, taking on the viewpoint of a mother dying in childbirth telling her child to “go forth and conquer” in her final moments.

    The post The Best New Vinyl to Spin This May appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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