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If finding good music ranks higher on your list than listening to your boss or paying your electric bill, then make your search easier by adding these compilation-by-style songs to your iPod or that birthday mix CD you’ve been working on for your best friend. Pick and choose from old school beats that may transport you back to your middle school years, or keep it progressive with the latest releases. Whatever you do, be creative, step outside your musical borders and most importantly: enjoy the music.

You just can’t go wrong when you have Michael Jackson, Al Green, and Marvin Gaye on the same rotation. Jamiroquai and Brand New Heavies add that acid-funk flavor to the great pioneers of that old school groove wave. These selections are sure to make any dance-floor phobic become a hip-swaying believer.

.Groove it out.

michael jackson: rock with you

hot chocolate: sexy thing

al green: let’s stay together

prince: musicology

jamiroquai: alright

nikka costa: everybody got their something

marvin gaye: your precious love

herbie hancock: chameleon

stevie wonder: hey love

brand new heavies: put the funk back in it

It’s that music you crave on that long drive home while the sun makes its grand exit for the moon. The marvelous talent of these artists’ voices is altogether exciting and unexpectedly soothing. They’re a sweet escape from the pace of a chaotic day, a channel of unwinding lyrics and wistful hooks.

.Chill it out.

over the rhine: fool

andy zipf: where you were not

elbow: scattered black and white

deathcab for a cutie: all is full of love

keane: sunshine

sleeping at last: trees (hallways of leaves)

athlete: le casio

the cure: anniversary

elliott smith: i better be quiet now

trashcan sinatras: earlies

Something for everyone: punk, euro-rock, classic alternative, indie-beats; it’s the rock edge you dream about when you’re awake. This compilation will motivate you to tackle those things you thought were left undone forever. With classics like Jeff Buckley and Radiohead blended with the new Franz Ferdinand and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, it’s the old and new smartly fused for the devoted rocker.

.Rock it out.

franz ferdinand: come on home

jeff buckley: eternal life

the killers: change your mind

yeah yeah yeahs: y control

anathallo: a song for christine

foo fighters: all my life

taking back sunday: set phasers to stun

phantom planet: by the bed

radiohead: myxomatosis

the shins: gone for good

You may be surprised of who you find here, maybe not the staple artists you’re used to spotting under the hip-hop genre. Nonetheless, following veteran rap group Outkast, are these groups of talented artists who offer fresh original rhymes, some spiritual, some romantic, and altogether worthy of landing a spot in your CD collection.

.Hip/hop it out.

kanye west: jesus walks

mase: keep it on

black-eyed peas: request line

outkast: take off your cool

erykah badu & bustah rhymes: one

grits: ooh aah

k-os: follow me

cross movement: cry no more

jamie cullum: frontin’

sean paul: like glue

They’ll one day be considered the grandfathers of music, or maybe they already are. These are the songs you’ve heard (or not heard) and learned to love or at least appreciate. Set the mood for “nostalgic,” warm up your throat and sing along.

.Replay it out.

u2: the unforgettable fire

billy joel: new york state of mind

bob dylan: shelter from the storm

ray charles: it’s alright

elton john: somebody saved my life tonight

bruce hornsby: the way it is

hank williams: lovesick blues

van morrisson: sweet thing

simon & garfunkel: only living boy in new york

tribe called quest: can i kick it?

They’ve defined jazz, blues and rock with their blend of sound incorporating elements like electric, percussion, and vocal. They are some of the greatest voices to ever grace our ears, true classics in the history of music. This compilation is not just a heartwarming fix for the jazz/blues-lovers, but it’s an unthreatening outlet for those lingering on the fringes of this genre. A brief but fulfilling lesson on some of the heroes of music.

.Blues it out.

b.b. king: don’t answer the door

billie holliday: god bless the child

eva cassidy: stormy monday

dizzy gillepsie: bang bang

miles davis: so what

norah jones: the nearness of you

aretha franklin: bridge over troubled water

otis redding: i’ve got dreams to remember

ray charles & van morrison: crazy love

count basie: paradise squat

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