02/21/2005 at 01:00 AM EST
Nirvana, With the Lights Out
While this long-awaited box set has its dim musical moments, it's a fascinating warts-and-all study of the ground-breaking grunge trio, replete with demos, B-sides and other rarities. You'll be left wondering, "What if?"
Nas, Street's Disciple
On an ambitious two-CD set, the rapper shows he's still a highly inspired street poet. Just check out the blues-infused "Bridging the Gap," his collaboration with jazz-musician dad Olu Dara.
John Legend, Get Lifted
This neo-soul newcomer (and Kanye West
protégé) soars on an album that brings to mind such bona fide soul legends as Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and Al Green.
Blaine Larsen, Off to Join the World Larsen
, 18, makes a knock-out country debut that's smartly written, and beautifully sung in a warm baritone reminiscent of Merle Haggard and George Strait.