Sunday, February 11, 2007

One True Moment

There once was a note, pure and easy, playing so free like a breath rippling by. - Pete Townshend, "Pure and Easy"

I tuned in to the 49th Annual Grammy Awards last night in time to catch the reunited Police open the ceremonies. That was nice (Sting and Stewart Copeland looked good and Andy Summer wasn't too hefty), but after that the shouting Divas - Beyonce, Mary J. Blige (who gave an acceptance speech approaching the length of a mini-series), and Christina Aquillera(performing an embarassingly lame tribute to James Brown) - came on to show off their pipes, once again subverting The Song to The Technique as they ran up and down the scales in a soul-less exercise in technical skill devoid of meaning or passion. Gawd I hate that It's the Singer Not the Song school of music, a style pioneered by vocal gymnist Whitney Houston! (As a character on the TV show Scrubs put it, they were like School in July: i.e., no class.)

Anyway, before I switched off I caught the night's one true moment of musical magic. It was a performance that teamed Corinne Bailey Rae, John Legend and John Mayer (a Stevie Winwood-throated blues rocker who looks a little like a very stoned Matt Dillon). Each performer sang one of their own songs while the other two sang or played backup in support. It worked and it was truly moving and worth taping. After that, it was back to the hype machine and, though I like the fact that the Dixie Chicks won multiple awards (which seems like icing on the cake of the November 2006 anti-Bush Congressional election results), I just couldn't get excited staying up to watch Justin Timberlake do his latest white boy Michael Jackson impersonation or wait to not-be-shocked by those aging California vulgarians (whose tattoos are starting to get wrinkled), the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

But I did get on the computer to order the Corinne Bailey Rae CD. This chick is class all the way, kind of like a mix of Sade, Macy Gray, Melanie and Nora Jones. Unlike so many look-at-me divas of her generation, she subverts herself to the melody, and sings it pure and easy. Lest we forget, it's all about the music - not the volume, the politics, the fashion, the Benjamins, the bling, or the units sold.

Here are a few viddies:



Related Links:

Good Grammy review by Rashod Ollison (Baltimore Sun)


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