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I watched the Grammies with one eye and one ear last night. I kept
having the same reaction over and over as musicians performed – “This
is the best there is?” The Norah Jones song that was such a big winner
struck me as somewhere between pleasantly inconsequential and
inconsequentially pleasant. The only moment I enjoyed was when Bruce
Springsteen, Dave Grohl and Elvis Costello played “London Calling” in
honor of Joe Strummer. I thought the speech by the president of the
academy was freakishly self-congratulatory and not of the world I
know. In my world, the big machine music of 2003 of is low-common
denominator, more of the same stuff that gets played to death, not as
he said “The best the world has to offer.” The only winner of the
whole night that I cared about was when The Flaming Lips won for best
rock instrumental (which we didn’t see, just the fast rundown of
awards that had already been awarded.) I’ve been listening to a lot of
great music lately, and none of it is anything you hear on commercial
radio.