Here are in alphabetical order the 5 CD’s I acquired this year which I have been playing the most on my stereo.

1. Bjork, Post

Bjork’s melodies have sounded similar from the Sugarcubes on, but I can’t dispute it’s a dynamite-sounding rut. And I don’t usually like heavy production, but on this CD the music IS the production. Good for: providing cool sounds and moments that loop sickeningly in your head all day.

2. Ed’s Redeeming Qualities, At the Fish and Game Club (Slow River)

Very intelligent writing melded with a real homemade acoustic sound. This band has the sweetest personality you’ll find, and the songs are funny and sad. None of the songs surpass the best of their older records (“Someone Else in the Room”, “Virginia”), but this is their most consistently great record. Good for: smart funny songs by a shy band you’ll want to adopt.

3. Mary Margaret O’Hara, Miss America (Koch)

She has a full beautiful voice which she isn’t afraid to shred when the song or mood calls for it. The songs are as amazing as her singing. See an earlier issue of Consumable for a full review of this record, a re-release of what is one of my favorite records. Good for: post-break up pain. (Also see ReviewM2OH.)

4. Gram Parsons, Grievous Angel (Reprise)

This is the legendary start of country-rock. Emmylou Harris sounds exquisite here and the bookends “Return of the Grievous Angel” and “In My Darkest Hour” are heart-wrenching. The stuff in between it is strong too, but it’s a bit too hyped for its melancholy edge by depressives. Good for: finding hope in depression and Emmylou Harris, whose voice never sounded purer.

5. Matthew Sweet, _100% Fun_ (Zoo)

More guilty pleasures. The songs are all completely standard pop songs, each with a cynical lyrical twist and a musical twist. His harmonies are sharp and his guest guitarists Richard Lloyd (from Television) and Robert Quine (from Richard Hell and the Voidoids) are two of my favorites. Good for: catchy sharp-angled guitars.