Making a list? Checking it twice? Here are some guidelines to keep befuddled spouses, parents of teenagers and others on the right track.

*** 1/2 SUBLIME, "Sublime," Gasoline Alley/MCA. Brad Nowell's soulful singing and strong melodies unify an alternately angry, playful and lovely album that would have been deeply poignant even without his heroin-related death.

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Albums and other items in the Gift Guide are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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