In my impressionable youth, while obsessed with a book called "The Hobbit," my Sainted Dad gently pulled me aside and said, "You know, son, this is, ah, about ... ELVES." 'Nuff said, Pops. All these years later, though, I return to "The Hobbit" - or at least the ending-credits song sung, co-written and arranged by the immortal Neil Finn. Director Peter Jackson enlisted the Crowded House leader and implored him to "think dwarvish" and, by God, that's what he did. You get the usual killer Finn melody, the rhythmic clanging of an anvil and a dwarfy, neo-Druidian chant as they cross some mountain or another with the titular Hobbit. Incredible, evocative song - even if you're not particularly Tolkienian.
- RICK KOSTER