Holiday Gift Guide : Calendar’s little helpers offer suggestions in pop, jazz, holiday, family and classical music, plus videos, computer games and books. (Good news: They’re easy to wrap.) : POP MUSIC
* * REBA McENTIRE, “Starting Over,” MCA. McEntire salutes the songs she says have long inspired her, her method of flattery being sincere imitation. It’s an elegant karaoke exercise, with arrangements mostly mirroring the hit versions.
* * TIM McGRAW, “All I Want,” Curb. McGraw never displays a real understanding of the emotions he sings about, but at least he recognizes them. And there’s nothing here as lamebrained as “Indian Outlaw.”
* * DWIGHT YOAKAM, “Gone,” Reprise. There’s an occasional witty couplet and poignant inward glance, but more energy seems to have gone into clever production touches than lyrical substance.
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (f a ir), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).