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"Tha Blue Carpet Treatment" by Snoop Dogg.

Snoop Dogg

"Tha Blue Carpet Treatment"

On sale at All That Jazz for $15.98

Huggy Bear is back in the spotlight with as much attitude as he swanked giving crime tips to Bay City cops in "Starsky & Hutch."

Snoop introduces his eighth album as the eighth wonder of the world. But I guess cockiness is part of the gangsta reputation he raps so smoothly about. This isn't "Doggystyle" but it will get as much play in my subwoofers. And the Doggfather even threw in a bathtub scene to appease his loyal fans.

Snoop Dogg is one of those rap/hip-hop artists who can pull off an album as polished and solid as his rhymes, especially when backed by Dr. Dre. This is their first collaborative effort in almost five years. (Is Dre ever going to come out with his own album?)

This album is a gangsta history book on tape with references to the song, "Candy," by L.L. Cool J, quotes from "Coming to America," and shouts out to Biggie and Pac.

And the gang's all here: Ice Cube, Pharrell Williams, B Real, The Game, D'Angelo, R. Kelly, Stevie Wonder and many others. Jamie Foxx also appears on another hit single, "Psst!" singin' alongside the Dogg singing, "Don't you wish your boyfriend was a player like me?"

Yes.

I'm voting for "Crazy," "Vato," "Get A Light" and "Lil' Crips" as his most fun tracks. It was nice to see the softer side of Snoop who speaks from the heart with Dre and D'Angelo in "Imagine," a song about what it would be like if we never had rap or hip-hop in our lives. I definitely couldn't imagine our music library without the Doggfather.

You probably won't fall in love with every song, but no worries - you have 21 to choose from.

Rating: Holla at this player and throw down your bones for this album.

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Wintersong by Sarah McLachlan.

Sarah McLachlan

Wintersong

Available at All That Jazz for $16.98

Before you chalk this album up to just another Christmas album, listen to it on a lonely night. Let Sarah whisper "I'll be home for Christmas" in your ears and belt out familiar lyrics with the freshness of an elegant soliloquy.

The only original song on the album is "Wintersong," and it is beautiful. The other classics she chose represent the ethereal and emotional range Miss Sarah's vocals are famous for.

This isn't the kind of Christmas album you want to clean the house or make gingerbread men to. You will instead end up in the La-Z-Boy curled up with your dog or cat, appreciating the chance to feel the somber side of the season.

It is a mellow and lyrically visual album that does much justice to the contemporary covers of Joni Mitchell's "River" and John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)."

And you can't deny the warm feeling "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" evokes. It brings me back to countless airport scenes in movies and real life where people push their way through the hopeless hustle and bustle of millions of people, all trying to get home to their loved ones.

The quiet, subtler spirit of Christmas is infectious in this album. Just make sure you get home to a cup of hot cocoa, Miss Sarah and something or someone to curl up with.

Rating: If you can still handle listening to Christmas music this late in the season, this one is a freshie.

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A Brokedown Melody Soundtrack. By various artists but produced by Jack Johnson's Brushfire Records.

A Brokedown Melody Soundtrack

Various Artists but produced by Jack Johnson's Brushfire Records

On sale at All That Jazz for $15.98

This surfing album stirs in quotes from the movie, island sounds (rolling waves, birds squeaking and bugs chirping) and the sexy voice of Mr. Matt Costa. I would have bought this album just for Matt's song, "The Road."

Sigh. His voice just makes me melt. And here he's singing, "I've just packed my things and I'm headed for something. Where I'm going I don't really know. The road is calling so I've got to go."

This album captures the lost and carefree spirit I'd imagine surfers are addicted to.

It's simple guitar riffs, sounds of homemade drums and native instruments mix with the salty air to build a bridge that connects all the tracks.

The surfers talk about the parts of the sport they really cherish and what pisses them off. They give an insider view to the appeal of the surfer lifestyle that "Endless Summer" introduced us to.

This is Jack Johnson's third surf movie soundtrack and he hogs the majority of the tracks. If the island music isn't going to hold your short attention span, then Jack will bring you back with three tracks at the beginning, middle and end of the soundtrack - "Breakdown," "Let It Be Song," and "Home." All of Jack's songs have that ponytail swinging melody that can make you feel like dancing or at least swaying.

Eddie Vedder makes a surprising appearance on the album singing "Goodbye," backed by a ukulele that sounds pretty natural, even for him.

There are a few songs that definitely lost me as I tried to ride out the whole album, but I was rescued by Johnson and sigh - Costa.

Rating: This album makes me want to break down and buy a plane ticket to somewhere tropical and stare out the airplane window listening to this CD. And did I mention Matt Costa is on the CD?

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