Great music in a box
Boxed sets, greatest hits and other holiday suggestions
By Todd Leopold
(CNN) -- If you're looking for a gift with soul, no problem.
If you're looking for a gift that's loud and edgy, that's easy enough.
If you're looking for a gift that taps into a fondness for nostalgia, a love of history or an affection for camp, there's plenty to fill the bill.
Music is, after all, as varied as the people who make it -- or enjoy it, or buy it.
Among 2004's boxed sets, best-of collections and samplings of musical pasts are a four-disc compilation of bluegrass music; a Rhino set devoted to 1980s college radio music; newly remastered versions of the Beatles' first four American album releases on Capitol; and a beautifully packaged seven-disc collection of Miles Davis' 1963-64 work on Columbia, a period when he was assembling his "Second Great Quintet."
Not covered in the accompanying gallery -- but well worth checking out -- are some of the terrific new releases from the past year, including:Marah's "20,000 Streets Under the Sky" (Yep Roc), which features a passionate, ambitious urban rawness that hearkens back to Bruce Springsteen's greatest work;"Brian Wilson Presents Smile" (Nonesuch), the Beach Boy's stunning evocation of his 1967 "lost" classic;"Nancy Sinatra" (Sanctuary), in which Ol' Blue Eyes' daughter comes across with a "Dusty in Memphis" soulfulness -- and expresses a world-weary depth her father would be proud of;and Green Day's profound (!) "American Idiot" (Warner Bros.).
There's music in abundance. Click here for a variety of choices from 2004.