Music nerds are a pretty easy lot to buy gifts for. While, yes, it might be true that they scoop up every noteworthy new release within moments of it hitting shelves, it’s also true that such a habit can be tough on the wallet, leaving them piss-poor and unable to buy anything that costs more than $15.99. That, of course, is where you come in. Here are our pricey picks for your beloved music lovers.
Born To Run 30th Anniversary
Three-Disc Set $25.99
In my weakest moments I occasionally pretend there are records that are better than Born to Run, which is ridiculous because, I mean, have you fucking heard Born to Run? It’s the Boss at his absolute best, all scruffy and out of sorts, trying to make sense of his world of street kids and an all-encompassing lust for trouble, for girls and for the fleeting, almost religious impact of good rock ‘n’ roll. With the deluxe reissue, we get a completely remastered version of the record, a “making of” documentary with studio footage and — here’s the real catch — a full-length concert DVD, recorded in London in 1975. If someone were to buy me this, it’s entirely possible that I’d stop watching crappy television altogether. It’d be all Boss all the time. It’s also entirely possible that my wife would file for divorce.
Talking Heads Brick
Box Set, $119.99
Look, if you think Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! is better than the Talking Heads, and you don’t really understand why everyone always says they sound so much like them, fine. But know this: your music nerd friend or family member thinks otherwise. He thinks they’re a second-rate, over-hyped bunch of rip-offs, and in order to beef up his argument, he’d really like to own every single record David Byrne and the gang ever released, plus outtakes, videos and some wacky 5.1 Surround Sound mixes, all in one tidy, well-designed package.
Concert for Bangladesh
DVD, Limited Deluxe Edition $39.99
It’s asinine, though not particularly surprising, that George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh hasn’t achieved the elevated status of the original Woodstock. In hopes of raising money for the war-, flood- and poverty-ravaged country, Harrison organized a night of music that would feature himself, Ravi Shankar, Billy Preston, Leon Russell and a whole mess of other great talents (and Eric Clapton) performing some Harrison songs, some Beatles songs and some of their own songs. The real draw, though, is Bob Dylan’s beautiful, twangy renditions of four of his best-known songs — worth it just because you can almost see him thanking God (or whoever) that he never played Woodstock.
Bose Triport Headphones
Ok, you’ve already got the music covered, but now they’re going to need a good way to listen to all of it. It should be noted that I’m not much of a stereo guy. I think it feels cool to listen to vinyl, but I don’t know why it’s technically supposed to sound better (Is it, even?). I don’t know much about speakers or ohms, I don’t know about bit rates on MP3s, and I also don’t know anything about headphones. I do, however, know that I was in the Apple store in Long Island a few weeks ago, and it was jam-packed, lousy with screaming children and teenagers sporting hairstyles like the Gotti kids. It was terrible and scary and loud. But there I was, drooling over the new iPod (there’s another idea — $399 for the 60GB model), when I decided to test it out with the headphones they had hooked up to it. I placed the nice looking blue Bose Triports over my ears and, voila, no more noise. Other than the crystal clear sound of Jay Farrar’s ‘Damn Shame’ coming through at a volume I didn’t know iPods could even reach, I couldn’t hear shit. And that’s exactly how I like it.