If April showers bring May flowers, then the more low-key album releases of last month have brought about some interesting concepts and comebacks this month. May has a healthy mix of mainstream LP drops, big collaborations, and older acts returning to the limelight. It's also going to be a really big month for pop and rock!
We hope this list of 10 new albums keeps you up-to-date with the popular releases in May, as well as informs you of some other acts you should be checking out. Everyone likes variety, right?
Let's cut to the chase. As always, all of the albums below are listed in order of release date. May you please check out the ten LPs mentioned below? We promise your ears will thank you for it!
1. - ("Subtract") - Ed Sheeran
By the time this article is up, beloved English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran will have dropped his fifth studio album, - ("Subtract"). Announced last month, it's the last project in his mathematical symbol series and promises to be heartfelt, melancholy, and more reminiscent of his earlier work.
Ed has chosen not to release any - singles ahead of time. Instead, he's released the record all at once, including an entire visual album for fans to feast on via YouTube. - was produced and co-written by the hottest new indie music producer in town: Aaron Dessner of The National. Sheeran and Dessner wrote over thirty songs together during a month-long studio session, which was eventually cut down to the album's fourteen tracks. Between the release of -, Sheeran's recent lawsuit win, and his new docuseries The Sum of It All up now on Disney+, the man's had quite a week.
2. KAYTRAMINÉ - Kaytranada and Aminé
Finally. After longtime fan demand, celebrated producer Kaytranada and rapper Aminé will release a collaborative album called KAYTRAMINÉ on May 12. The musicians connected in 2014 after Aminé made a bootleg remix of Kaytranda’s “At All” retitled “Not At All.” As they shared music, Kaytranda produced three tracks on the 2015 Aminé mixtape Calling Brio, but the artists have been quiet ever since. Until now.
In anticipation for the drop, the duo have released a bouncy Pharrell-produced single called "4EVA." No further details have been announced about KAYTRAMINÉ, including any other guest contributors or whether the duo plans to undertake any live performances. Like Aminé would say in "4EVA," our "love goes deep" for these two guys.
3. Kismet - Belinda Carlisle
She's back! Former Go-Go's lead vocalist Belinda Carlisle is adding another record to her superstar solo career on May 12. Kismet is technically an EP rather than an album, but there's just as much buzz about it. Legendary songwriter Diane Warren helped Carlisle with the five tracks, and Kismet is her latest English-language record since 1996's A Woman & a Man. (2007's Voila was in French, while 2017's Wilder Shores was composed of Sikh chants.)
A new collection of songs was teased in October 2022 with Carlisle announcing, "I'm making a music video today for the first time in over 25 years" via Twitter. That music video was most likely for the EP's lead single, "Big Big Love," which is pure pop pleasure.
4. Okemah Rising - Dropkick Murphys
Okay, maybe this pick is a little unconventional given the kinds of albums we typically recommend in this series. But seriously: have you listened to any of the Dropkick Murphys' classic Celtic punk bangers? At least "I'm Shipping Up to Boston"? If you think those songs are lame, then well...we think you're kidding yourself. And if you haven't listened to any of them, give the new single below, "Gotta Get To Peekskill," a listen.
The group's twelfth studio album – to be released on May 12 and titled Okemah Rising – will be composed of songs inspired by unused lyrics and words from Woody Guthrie. It's similar to the concept of their last album, This Machine Still Kills Fascists. Like with the previous album, Okemah Rising does not feature vocalist Al Barr, who was on hiatus to take care of his ailing mother. The album was executive produced by Woody Guthrie's daughter Nora Gutherie and also features appearances by Violent Femmes, Jaime Wyatt, Jesse Ahern, and Woody's grandson Cole Quest. Oh, and did we mention there's going to be a reworked "Tulsa Version" of "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" as the final track on this thing? We're getting our top sails ready.
5. The Album - Jonas Brothers
May 12 is going to be a big day for album drops. The question is...are you prepared for this one? The BIGGEST drop of the big day? As hardcore Jonas Brothers fans here at Live365, we totally are.
This sixth studio album from the former Disney stars – ironically titled The Album – will include elements of 1970s pop and Americana. It's partly influenced by groups like the Bee Gees, America, and the Doobie Brothers. To promote the album, the brothers performed most of the track list for the yet-unreleased album on March 18: the last night of their recent Broadway residency. We've replayed the adorable music video for their lead single, "Wings," over and over again (having Jonas Brothers mega fan and White Lotus actress Haley Lu Richardson star in the visual was a marvelous choice), and "Waffle House" is as delicious as any dish you'd get from the beloved chain restaurant.
6. Walk Around the Moon - Dave Matthews Band
May 19 sees the release of Dave Matthews Band's tenth studio album, Walk Around the Moon. The album is the rock group's first since 2018's Come Tomorrow, and will be the first with new member Buddy Strong following the firing of Boyd Tinsley. Seven of the 12 tracks on Walk Around the Moon were played live prior to the official album announcement on January 24, 2023. "Break Free" in particular has been played going back to 2006, from a studio session with Mark Batson.
As for newer songs, we're enchanted by the eerie heartache-y single "Monsters," and the ancient-sounding "Madman's Eyes." Like an actual walk around the moon, this album is sure to be a cool trip.
7. Gag Order - Kesha
Oof. This one's going to be heavy, but we're 1000% ready for it. It's not an overstatement to say Kesha's been through a lot these last couple of years. As you can surmise from the title, Gag Order isn't going to shy away from the situation she's been under due to the legal case against producer Dr. Luke. It's left her unable to speak or even comment on it. But at least she's still able to create music.
One listen of "Eat the Acid" or "Fine Line," and you know this thing is about to be the most vulnerable piece of art Kesha has ever released. Besides the Dr. Luke incident, the record will also reflect on Kesha's anxieties during the COVID-19 pandemic and spiritual experiences she's had over the previous three years. Gag Order was produced by the legendary Rick Rubin, has 13 tracks, and will be released on May 19. Despite all the hardships Kesha's faced, we're glad she refuses to stay silent.
8. Reflections - Sufjan Stevens
This Sufjan Stevens release – also on May 19 – is going to be a particularly interesting one. That's because it's actually a score for the 2019 Justin Peck ballet Reflections. It's kind of similar to former Daft Punk member Thomas Bangaltar's project Mythologies, which we mentioned in our April album recommendations.
Justin Peck is a frequent collaborator of Stevens; they've worked together on 2019’s Principia, 2017’s The Decalogue, 2016’s In the Countenance of Kings, 2014’s Everywhere We Go, and 2012’s Year of the Rabbit. Stevens has a knack for stirring instrumentals and dramatic themes within his creations, so we're sure he's nailed the tone for this Houston Ballet commission. We're excited to get our hands on the seven tracks in this record.
9. Mirror to the Sky - Yes
Mirror to the Sky will be shared by English progressive rock band Yes on May 19. It's their first studio album with American drummer Jay Schellen as a full-time member following the 2022 death of long-time Yes drummer Alan White, to whom the project is dedicated.
Like its LP predecessor The Quest (2021), guitarist Steve Howe resumed his role as producer on Mirror to the Sky and the FAMES Orchestra in North Macedonia provide orchestral arrangements by Paul K. Joyce on some songs. If you're looking for long and deep pieces, this is the record for you. The songs "All Connected" and "Luminosity" will both be nine minutes long, and the title track has a runtime of a whopping 13 minutes.
10. My Soft Machine - Arlo Parks
After experiencing Parks' critically acclaimed debut Collapsed in Sunbeams in 2021, we're so excited to see what she does in her next studio effort, My Soft Machine. Not only do Paul Epworth and Al Hugg have producing credits on this thing, but so does BROCKHAMPTON's Romil Hemnani. (We are both SHOCKED and STOKED by that namedrop.) There's also a collab with the one and only Phoebe Bridgers. To put it simply, this Arlo Parks album isn't going to be a sophomore slump.
The LP will drop on May 26. Parks has described My Soft Machine as a "deeply personal body of work" about "navigating life in her 20s," particularly "the mid-20s anxiety, the substance abuse of friends around [her], the viscera of being in love for the first time, navigating P.T.S.D. and grief and self-sabotage and joy." This album will also be far more collaborative than her first. Besides Bridgers and the aforementioned producers, there are contributions from Carter Lang and Marinho. The record has been preceded by the singles "Weightless," "Impurities," and "Blades."
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