Here are some music picks to seem cool in front of loved ones and others:
Sufjan Stevens, "Come On Feel the Illinoise!" - This is just awesome. Maybe I'm a bit late to find this, but this combo of pop, folk and instrumentals is too good to be missed. You'll definitely see this popping up on podcasts soon. The song "Chicago" is my personal favorite. I swear if you buy this and don't like it, I'll refund your money.
Jurassic 5, "Feedback" - To be honest there are a few misses on this album, but then again most of their albums have a few of those. That being said they have their own unique sound that says Southern Cal over it. I'm not sure what exactly says that, but work with me here.
Stevie Wonder, "Songs in the Key of Life" - Um okay, so this isn't a great revelation or discovery on my part. It's pretty much understood that this album is a classic. That being said it's one that a lot of people haven't really listened to. If you want something that's classy but has beat and heart, look no further. It makes you wonder though, that for a blind dude Stevie had more than his fair share of heartbreak. On a sidenote, now you can hear where how Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" is basically Stevie's "Pastime Paradise." In college my dorm neighbor and I had a tradition called "Stevening in the Evening" where we'd read a passage aloud from the liner notes of the "Best of Stevie Wonder" and play a song at full blast. Let's just call my neighbor "S. McGovern" or rather "Sam M" for anonymity's sake. Okay enough of this nostalgia which rings true to no one...
Ministry of Sound, "Mash Up Mix 2006" - Hands down the best compilation of the year. Mash-ups are basically combinations of two different songs, and this puts together like 40 of the best ones.