Giving the gift of music

is intimidating. You're always judged by the records you buy. And it's been especially daunting to buy records for people this year, given that our nation is currently in a holy war. Sure, laugh it off, we all do. That is, until we find ourselves in the record store.

This season, music shoppers are forced to wrestle with some tough and unexpected concerns: Is Ice Cube's Death Certificate an inappropriate gift this season, given that Uncle Sam is toe-tagged on the cover image? Is Billie Holiday too somber? Is Barbra Streisand too Jewish?

These are enormous concerns. And we hate the idea that our readers would ever have to worry about anything, ever. So with the holy war in mind, we put our handsome heads together and came up with our 2001 Holiday Music Gift Guide--one that's both a well-timed response to our present cultural climate and a solid advertising cash cow for our paper. Smart, right? We thought so.

Enjoy! And happy holidays to all of you.

Love, The Stranger