5. Ivy, Apartment Life (Atlantic, 1997)

I already wrote nearly one thousand words about this one for Splendid earlier in the year. To that, let me add that it continues to grow on me (it's surpassed this record, for chrissakes). More so than any other album I own, I can imagine playing it anytime, anyplace. I want every future boyfriend of mine to hear it so I can use it as a litmus test for whether he's worth hanging on to. I'll buy this trio's next album when it comes out in March 2005 even though it'll probably be an inevitable letdown. Apartment Life is still the best purchase I've ever made from a used CD store on a whim. Check back with me in five years to see whether it will be my all-time favorite album.