TOP PICK — All You Need Is Love (MVD)
Back in the mid-'70s, John Lennon proposed that British filmmaker Tony Palmer make a documentary about the history of popular music. The 17-episode series aired across the globe from 1976 to 1981. This five-DVD set still thrills, as Palmer charts everything from ragtime and vaudeville to rock and country, with the help of Lennon, Muddy Waters, and countless others. Essential viewing.
CD — Boredoms: Super Roots #9 (Thrill Jockey)
On Christmas Eve 2004, these Japanese noise-rockers hauled a 20-person choir onstage and made a glorious racket. The result is a 40-minute live epic, which peaks, dips, rises, and explodes in a flurry of guitars, synths, and drums. It's an amazing performance that holds together for the entire ride.
VIDEO GAME — Deca Sports (Hudson Entertainment)
Tired of the Wii Sports game that's bundled with the Wii? This outing features 10 new Olympic-style challenges, including figure skating, snowboarding, archery, and, um, curling. Like Nintendo's flagship disc, Deca Sports works best when you're playing with others. Who knew badminton could be so fun?
DVD — National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets (Walt Disney)
We've still got Indiana Jones fever, and this contemporary spin offers plenty of kicks — including a Bourne-like chase across London. Nicolas Cage is no Harrison Ford, but you'll be too caught up in the action — which takes place on landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore — to care.
CD — The Rough Guide to Congo Gold (World Music Network)
More than any other form of Afropop, Congolese rumba is made for casual dancing (think the jam-band shuffle). Horns and guitars play off each other in a swirl of feet-moving grooves. This excellent compilation gathers old-school leaders of the music (we'd mention some, but you probably never heard of them) for an enlightening primer that doubles as an excellent dance disc.
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