The Best New Vinyl to Spin in July

July is a big month for Barnes & Noble’s Vinyl Store. For one thing, Vinyl Weekend is returning, in stores and online, July 12-14 (learn more here). For another, we’ve got a ton of great new music on the way: Not only does the soundtrack for season 3 of Stranger Things hit our shelves—featuring an exclusive cover you’ll only find here, and maybe in the Upside Down—we’ve got parts 3 and 4 of the original Woodstock soundtrack, an exclusive compilation of the best songs from 1969, an exclusive gold vinyl pressing of the best of Creedence Clearwater Revival, and much more.

Golden Hour, by Kacey Musgraves
Golden Hour is more lovey-dovey than Musgrave’s previous work, and the choice was intentional. Musgraves got married while she was writing the album, and its title comes from her belief that she’s in a “golden hour” of her life. Perfect vibes for summer, right? Golden Hour is certainly her best album yet, and has enjoyed not only near-unanimous critical acclaim, but four Grammy wins (including Album of the Year) and a Country Music Association award. Needless to say, both pop and country fans will find a lot to like here, especially the two lead singles, “Butterflies” and “Space Cowboy.” Of the deeper cuts, “High Horse” and “Slow Burn” are our favorites.

Dumbo 2019 Soundtrack (Red Vinyl, B&N Exclusive)
The remake of the classic Disney film Dumbo meant a redo of the soundtrack as well. That work was entrusted to legendary film composer Danny Elfman, whose goal was to give the film a very distinct musical identity. In some cases—the main theme, for example—this means simpler compositions than one might expect from the Oscar-winning composer, driven by his belief that Dumbo is, after all, a simple story. This is a good thing, though: Elfman’s intuition results in a dynamic soundtrack that is in turns playful and sinister; the differences between the spritely woodwinds and timpani of “Meet the Family” and the tense strings in “Holt in Action” are startling.

She’s So Unusual, by Cyndi Lauper (Yellow Vinyl, B&N Exclusive)
Cyndi Lauper is an icon of the ’80s. Her sound hasn’t aged a day since then, and continues to inspire a new generation of artists—especially via this album. 1983’s She’s So Unusual was one of the decade’s most popular records, and made her the first female singer to get four Top 100-charting singles from one album. It was and remains a charming, bubbly piece of synthpop at first listen, but its breadth and depth mean it rewards repeated spins. It’s one pop gem after another, from the enduring anthem “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” to heartfelt ballads like “Time After Time” and “All Through the Night,” to the New Wave strut of tracks like “She Bop” and “Yeah Yeah.” It’s no wonder the album earned Lauper a “Best New Artist” Grammy in 1985; Rolling Stone also named it one of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” and earlier this year, it was added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry, which recognizes works of “cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance.” Not a bad list of bonafides for a debut. This B&N exclusive edition features suitably cheery yellow vinyl.

Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits of Creedence Clearwater Revival (Gold Vinyl, B&N Exclusive)
Creedence Clearwater Revival is not just one of rock music’s best Southern rock bands (despite hailing from California), they are one of rock music’s best singles bands. This must-have double-LP—available exclusively on gold vinyl through our Vinyl Store—collects all of the band’s major single hits, including “Bad Moon Rising,” “Down On The Corner,” “Fortunate Son,” “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” and too many more to list. (Seriously, CCR’s hot streak of singles hits is beyond compare.) This set also has live versions of “Sweet Hitch-Hiker” and our personal favorite CCR song, the bittersweet “Someday Never Comes.”

Farscape Original Soundtrack (B&N Exclusive)
Farscape may have only had four proper seasons, but the Australian/American sci-fi series’ cult fanbase endures to this day. They, as well as soundtrack enthusiasts of all kinds, will be thrilled to get their hands on an exclusive-to-Barnes & Noble gold vinyl pressing of the official soundtrack. With its unique setting and colorful characters—some of whom were genuine Henson Studio puppets—Farscape had a lot of personality, and each season’s soundtrack, composed by Guy Gross, reflects this. From the heavy percussion and unorthodox vocals of the main theme to the Gregorian bombast of “The Last Stand,” Farscape‘s music is as beautifully weird as the show, and worth adding to your vinyl collection.

Stranger Things Season 3 (B&N Exclusive Cover)
One major contributor to the nostalgic feel, and runaway success, of Netflix’s Stranger Things is unquestionably the soundtrack. Season 3 in particular uses ’80s jams to good effect, both taking us back in time and perfectly complementing (or contrasting with) the events onscreen. The soundtrack, which hits the Vinyl Store’s shelves in July with an exclusive cover you’ll only find at Barnes & Noble, features 15 vintage bops (among them Madonna’s “Material Girl,” REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” The Cars’ “Moving in Stereo,” Corey Hart’s “Never Surrender,” and that “Weird Al” Yankovic classic “My Bologna”) on two LPs, plus a special 7″ bonus platter featuring series stars Gaten Matarazzo and Gabriella Pizzolo crooning the immortal theme from the film The Never Ending Story. Fans of the show will obviously love it, but even if you don’t watch it, it’s a totally killer compilation of irresistible ’80s pop.

Woodstock Original Soundtrack Vol. 3 (B&N Exclusive)
The first Woodstock wasn’t just the defining cultural moment of a generation; it set a standard for outdoor concerts that still hasn’t been bested. In fact, so many bands played the iconic 1969 music festival that the recordings are split across multiple volumes! Volume Three is a Barnes & Noble exclusive set of three purple and gold vinyl records, featuring tracks from Creedence Clearwater Revival (“I Put a Spell On You”), Country Joe & the Fish (“Rock & Roll Music (Reprise)),” Jefferson Airplane (“The Other Side of This Life”), the Who (“Amazing Journey/Sparks”), and so many more iconic artists from that era.

Woodstock Original Soundtrack Vol. 4 (B&N Exclusive)
Like Volume Three, this fourth volume of the original Woodstock lineup is a Barnes & Noble exclusive set. Pressed onto specialty green and white vinyl, Volume Four contains music from Arlo Guthrie (“Wheel of Fortune”), the Paul Butterfield Blues Band (“Born Under a Bad Sign”), British blues rock specialists Ten Years After (“Help Me”), and Joe Cocker (“Something to Say”). These exclusive compilations of original Woodstock recordings illustrate why its legacy endures: it was a showcase of the best folk, rock, country, and blues artists of the era.

Summer of ’69 (B&N Exclusive)
2019 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Woodstock and the highwater mark of 1960s counterculture, which has resonated through American pop culture ever since. Summer of ’69 brings all that music back, and reminds listeners that the Summer of Love was a much more diverse musical landscape than most realize. It was an era where The Mamas & The Papas (“California Dreamin’”), the Spencer Davis Group (“Gimme Some Lovin’”), the Temptations (“Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”), and the Allman Brothers (“Whipping Post”) all battled it out on the pop charts alongside Marvin Gaye (“I Heard It Through the Grapevine”) and the Beach Boys at their most psychedelic (“God Only Knows”). What a time to be alive.

Don’t forget to check out our Vinyl Weekend offers and exclusives!

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