December 06, 2004 12:00 PM

Chaka Khan, Classikhan

If you are going to buy one standards album this season, buy ClassiKhan, which matches classic material to this R&B diva’s classic voice. Her “Stormy Weather” is a veritable force of nature.

U2, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

Bono and company—still the World’s Greatest Rock Band—keep their unforgettable fire burning brightly on another vintage U2 album that plays like All That You Can’t Leave Behind II.

Darryl Worley, Darryl Worley

On his fourth disc, this country singer with the Haggardian pipes exhibits an insightful awareness of life’s vagaries. Let’s tip our Stetsons to a man who isn’t afraid to seem smart.

Talib Kweli, The Beautiful Struggle

With rhymes that are unusually heady and refreshingly honest on tracks like the heartfelt “Black Girl Pain,” Struggle is—no contest—the rap CD of the year.

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