May is here, and a whole bunch of new vinyl came with it! Check out these Barnes & Noble vinyl exclusives from legends like Bob Dylan, Jerry Lee Lewis, Diana Krall, and the late Roy Orbison, as well as new music from pop sensations Gwen Stefani and Cyndi Lauper, and classical genius Yo-Yo Ma! In addition to only being available through Barnes & Noble, these records are pressed onto cool colored vinyl and come with all sorts of other collectible items. Here’s what you’ll want to add to your collection this month.
Fallen Angels, by Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan returns to the studio for his (get ready) thirty-seventh album, comprised of twelve classic songs written by pop songwriting pioneers such as Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, and Hoagy Carmichael. That Dylan—celebrated for his own formidable songwriting abilities—would record another album’s worth of covers points to his putting more energy into arrangements and band-leading. As a vocalist, Dylan seems to be aging in reverse; his voice doesn’t have the gravel it once had, but retains its trademark restraint. Fun fact: with the exception of “Skylark,” every song on this album has also been recorded by Frank Sinatra.
This is What the Truth Feels Like, by Gwen Stefani
Released in March 2016, and written after the singer’s divorce from Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, Stefani considers This is What the Truth Feels Like “a breakup record,” and scrapped a project she’d been working on to write songs for it. The result is an album whose lyrical arc begins at heartbreak and disappointment and ends with starting a new relationship, all within the boundaries of a very bouncy and fun pop structure. Even songs like “Misery,” whose chorus begins with “put me out of my misery,” are still glossy club bangers, with just enough vulnerability to transcend being disposable pop tunes. It’s a fine line, but Stefani walks it well.
Sing Me Home, by Yo-Yo Ma & Silk Road Ensemble
Yo-Yo Ma is just a furnace of productivity, isn’t he? You could base an entire vinyl collection on his work with other artists, and Sing Me Home is one of his most impressive to date. Along with the Silk Road Ensemble, Yo-Yo Ma explores the cultural heritage and folk traditions of ten different regions of the world, including the Balkans, India, Iran, Syria, and the Mali people of Roma. Hearing the similarities in music from seemingly disparate places is an edifying experience in its own right, but the Ensemble really knocks this material out of the park, especially “Little Birdie,” “Madhoushi,” and “St. James Infirmary Club.”
Jerry Lee’s Greatest, by Jerry Lee Lewis
One of rock ‘n’ roll’s original wild men, Jerry Lee Lewis was one of the most dynamic performers of his era, and that energy translated to his studio albums. This one, originally released by Sun Records in 1962, focuses on Jerry’s later cuts for the legendary Memphis label, including a blistering version of Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say” and a fantastic recording of his biggest hit, “Great Balls of Fire.” Other standouts on this album include “As Long As I Live,” “Frankie and Johnny,” and his take on Johnny Horton’s “Hillbilly Music.” Best of all, this exclusive re-pressing is on orange vinyl, so in keeping with the Killer’s reputation, it’ll stand out in your record collection.
Original Sound, by Roy Orbison
No less of an authority than Elvis Presley said that Roy Orbison was the best singer in rock ‘n’ roll, and that voice of his—high-pitched, emotional, almost ethereal—is in fine form on this album, originally released in the 1970s. While most people know Orbison for his pop material, he started off as a rockabilly artist for Sun Records, which is what this collection focuses on. Curiously, Orbison didn’t like most of his work from this era, which is a shame because it was great; “Rockhouse,” “You’re My Baby,” and “Mean Little Mama” have become rockabilly standards, and every girl with a Bettie Paige poster in her dorm room knows the words to “Devil Doll.”
Stepping Out, by Diana Krall
Originally released in 1993, this album was Diana Krall’s first, and is a selection of jazz standards (and one original composition, “Jimmie”) that show off Krall’s beautiful contralto voice. Huge record sales, Grammys, and Juno awards were heading her way, but this first album is all about her singing, which makes it humble in a way that a lot of debut records aren’t. Krall also revealed her excellent taste right from the start; tracks on this album include Nat King Cole’s “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” Duke Ellington’s “I’m Just a Lucky So-and-So,” and the Fields/McHugh Broadway classic, “On the Sunny Side of the Street.”
Detour, by Cyndi Lauper
Detour is well named! Most people wouldn’t expect Cyndi Lauper to have such a deep appreciation of country music, but this album—her eleventh—is a tribute to the country songs she grew up with in her Aunt Gracie’s kitchen. Tracks include two Patsy Cline songs, “Walkin’ After Midnight” and “I Fall to Pieces”; Wanda Jackson’s off-kilter “Funnel of Love”; and the Loretta Lynn/Conway Twitty classic “You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly.” Lauper’s voice is well-suited for country, and never loses the New York City brattiness that’s part of her charm. She also gets some vocal help from special guests like Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Jewel, Alison Krauss, and Willie Nelson.