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Buy one of the following CDs Todd Inoue mentioned in his article:

Talking Heads' 'Once in a Lifetime' box set

Johnny Cash's 'Unearthed' box set

Miles Davis' 'Complete Jack Johnson Sessions' box set

Duran Duran's 'Singles: '81-'85' box set

AC/DC's 'Back in Black' (deluxe digipak)

Charlie Parker's 'Complete Verve Master Takes' box set

The Bob Dylan limited edition catalog box set (SACD)

'Christmas Remixed: Holiday Classics Re-Grooved'

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog's 'Come Poop With Me'


2003 Gift Guide

[ Intro | Sins | Music | Students | List-less Holiday | DVDs | Online Shopping | Books | Right On... | Calendar Listings ]

Snob Shopping

There's always one music elitist in the family; here's how to make the royal pain happy this holiday season

By Todd Inoue

I'M SPEAKING from experience here: holiday shopping for the music aficionado is a risk. You chance insulting his or her tastes and intelligence while embarrassing yourself, making the whole holiday season miserable for everyone.

Growing up, I resorted to requesting boxes of blank tapes and Tower gift certificates. These lacked the personal touch, but I'd learned my lesson: asking for a rare 12-inch, forcing your moms and pops to dig through Streetlight record piles, quickly vaults your giftee status to "pain in the ass."

This year, shopping for the music junkie is easier than ever before. The simple reason: iPod. If you're going to buy one present for the music lover in your life, get with Apple's portable music dynamo. Last year, I, a certified music fan and recovering technophobe, received a 20GB iPod for Christmas, and it has barely left my side since. Its user-friendly interface is typical Apple--clean, easy to use and simply effing brilliant. When I loaded my favorite jams, including hour-long mixes and whole albums, the 20GB hard drive barely coughed.

This Christmas, Apple has a 15GB iPod ($399) that's a straight winner in the stocking. It boasts a 7,500-song capacity for more music and audio books than humanly possible in such a slim package. It kicks butt on long trips (bye-bye stacks of CDs) and in airports. If you're real slick, pair up the iPod with an iTunes gift certificate in denominations of $10-$200, available in the iTunes store (www.apple.com/itunes).

The next obvious choice for the music fiend is the multiple-CD box set. The kings of repackaging at Rhino Records are a little light on the releases this year (unless you're really waiting for that ZZ Top box set!). Of highest interest is the definitive Talking Heads collection, Once in a Lifetime ($59.98), which includes three CDs of hits and misses and a copy of the band's video compilation, Storytelling Giant, on DVD. American Recordings honors Johnny Cash with a five-disc set, Unearthed, that includes recordings (64 of them unreleased), duets and a clothbound book culled from his sessions from 1994 to 2002 ($79.98). Other artists given the box treatment to spike holiday sales: Miles Davis (the Complete Jack Johnson Sessions), Al Green, Duran Duran, AC/DC (15 CDs!), Charlie Parker and Bob Dylan.

Christmas-theme CDs usually blow (has there been a really great one since Phil Spector or Vince Guaraldi?), but the folks at Six Degrees Records consistently release one or two records every holiday season that you'd be glad to break out when the relatives leave and all your cool friends come over for Sequence and leftovers. This season, check out Christmas Remixed--a gang of traditional tunes by Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Louis Armstrong gussied up by studio Santas like Dan "The Automator" Nakamura, Baz Kuts, Robbie Hardkiss, Michael Kessler and more.

Finally, perhaps nothing says "Happy Holidays" more than a crude dog puppet doing blue humor. Famed creation of Robert Smigel, the randy pooch Triumph the Insult Comic Dog released its first comedy CD, Come Poop With Me. It's a big ol' lump of funny that comes with almost an hour-long DVD. With guest spots from Conan O'Brien, Adam Sandler, Jack Black, Maya Rudolph and Horatio Sanz, Come Poop With Me wins easily the best CD gift of the season--for me to poop on!

Send a letter to the editor about this story to letters@metronews.com.

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From the November 20-26, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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