In the latest installment of “Countdown to Christmas,” Entertainment Weekly's executive editor Lori Majewski has gift ideas for every music fan in your life, from the hostess to the tween.
For the party host
A bottle of wine is nice, but show up with one of these CDs and you’ll have everyone humming along in no time
- Rachael Ray’s “How Cool Is Christmas” is a collection of holiday classics by everyone from Elvis Presley to Aretha Franklin.
- Sarah McLachlan’s “Wintersong” features lulling versions of the singer’s take on seasonal favorites, along with a lovely cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River.”
- Aimee Mann’s “One More Drifter In the Snow” contains a quirky reading of “The Grinch” from indie rocker Grant Lee Phillips that’s peppered with choruses of Mann singing “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch.”
For the “American Idol” fan
Because everyone knows one!
- This year’s winner, Taylor Hicks, continues on his soul patrol with his first, self-titled release.
- Fantasia Barrino’s sophomore effort is a lot more upbeat than the first, thanks to R&B tracks produced by the likes of Missy Elliot.
- Chris Daughtry, the popular 2006 runner-up with the shaved head, dropped his last name, added a band but kept his trademark rocker sound for his debut, “Daughtry.”
- Another Idol winner, Ruben Studdard, is back, and with an album that finds the Velvet Teddybear sounding like his idol, the late Luther Vandross.
For your parents Have no idea what to get mom or dad? These new releases are sure to please.
- On the Beatles’ “LOVE” album, Fab Four favorites are given the 2006 “mash-up” treatment: Different versions of different songs (from “All You Need is Love" to “Hey Jude”) are remixed and pasted together to create new tracks.
- Check out U2’s latest, greatest hits package. “U218” includes all the band’s singles, and, the limited-edition pack comes with a live DVD too.
- Other suggestions: “Ray Charles: Basie Swinger,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Seger Sessions” and the debut disc from Corinne Bailey Rae, this year’s sure-to-be Grammy darling.
For your best friend
Two albums that will stay in her car’s CD-changer all year long:
- The soundtrack to “Dreamgirls” — because after she sees the movie, she’ll want to learn every word.
- Gwen Stefani’s “The Sweet Escape” has more “Hollaback Girl”-like stomp-along songs, but the No Doubt frontwoman really scores when she gets down to the business of singing again, as she does on the gem “Early Winter.”
For the teens and tweensWhen it’s got to be cool, music and music-related gifts are the way to go.
- They probably already have the “High School Musical” soundtrack and DVD. So get the tween girl in your life the two new Disney Channel must-haves: the Cheetah Girls and the Hannah Montana soundtracks.
- Teen girls and guys will love My Chemical Romance’s critically-acclaimed new CD, “The Black Parade,” as well as the Playstation 2’s Guitar Hero video game, which lets you learn how to strum along to their favorites. Or let them learn on a real guitar: Juicy Couture’s limited-edition six-string and bass are sleek (black and hot pink) and designed by a rock star from their parents’ day: Duran Duran’s John Taylor. (John Taylor Six-String Guitar & Case at neimanmarcus.com, $1,295)
You could listen to the same crib-toy lullabies over and over, or you can get the kids to rock out to:
- Spongebob Squarepants and Baby Loves Jazz, two collections that come highly recommended from esteemed Entertainment Weekly music critic Chris Willman.
- The Rock-a-Bye Baby lines, which features kid-friendly versions of full albums of music by such artists as Led Zeppelin, the Cure and more.
- Also for babies: Adorable, music-inspired tees from Showroom24.com: Kid Vicious (a play on the Sex Pistols’ Sid!); Metallikid (for Metallica fans); a London Calling bib (for supporters of The Clash); and tees that say My Mummy Rocks, My Daddy Rocks or I Rock.
For the whole familyWant to look punky but not too into the idea of shaving your kids’ (or your own) hair into a mohawk? (Although, Angelina Jolie’s son, Maddox, certainly looked cute with his!) Faux mo’s in different colors (and even a Union Jack pattern) for mommy, daddy, kids and babies are available from Knit-head.com.
All CDs available on iTunes or at your local music store.