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Top pop culture picks for the week

TOP PICK

Paul and Linda McCartney: Ram: Special Edition

(MPL/Concord)

McCartney's second post-Beatles album, from 1971, gets the deluxe reissue treatment with several expanded versions. At the core of each is the original record -- remastered to pull out all the little studio tricks going on in the corners of songs like the hit “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” McCartney's first solo No. 1 – and a bonus disc filled with leftovers and non-LP singles.

VIDEO

American Dad: Volume 7

(Twentieth Century Fox)

This three-disc box gathers all 19 episodes of the sixth season of Seth MacFarlane's companion series to Family Guy. While the laughs aren't as consistent (and the plots aren't as self-spinning) as Family Guy's, most episodes -- including “For Whom the Sleigh Bell Tolls,” a Christmas outing in which son Steve accidentally kills Santa with a machine gun – deliver more subtle social commentary.

BOOK

Bonnaroo: What, Which, This, That, the Other

(Abrams)

Holly George-Warren compiled the stories and quotes that make up part of this tribute to Tennessee's annual four-day music fest, which started as a jam-band showcase but has since expanded to include more forward-thinking artists like Eminem and Radiohead. But the best parts of the book are the 200-plus photos that capture the musicians, fans, and (you'd swear) the stench of the gathering.

MUSIC

Electric Guest: Mondo

(Downtown/Across the Universe)

This L.A. group's frontman, Asa Taccone, had a hand in some of the Lonely Island's songs (his brother Jorma is part of Andy Samberg's jokey crew). On his band's debut album, he gets a little more serious, dropping indie-style R&B that's part-throwback, part-wink. Producer Danger Mouse layers the album in a thick, creamy coating that gives it more shelf life than “Motherlover.”

VIDEO

Strange Fruit: The Beatles' Apple Records

(Sexy Intellectual)

This documentary chronicles the long, winding, and ultimately anticlimactic rise and fall of the Beatles' record company. As experts, fans, and people who worked for Apple point out, the label's artist-friendly utopia didn't translate to a financially stable enterprise. Most artists (like Jackie Lomax) didn't amount to much; those who did (like James Taylor) left before they got big. Interesting story nonetheless.

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More by Michael Gallucci

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