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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

* * MEAT LOAF, “Welcome to the Neighborhood,” MCA. Rock’s Opera Man comes through with hyper-romantic bombast in an over-the-top style so wrongheaded and so easily caricatured that it’s actually kind of impressive. For what it’s worth, there’s nobody else like him.

* * 1/2 BOB SEGER & THE SILVER BULLET BAND, “It’s a Mystery,” Capitol. Seger’s first new album in four years has its share of clunkers, but its highlights are enough to bring him back from the brink of irrelevance.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (f a ir), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).


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