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Underrated / Overrated

February 15, 2009

UNDERRATED

Blossom Dearie: Missed in the hubbub of last week's Grammys was the loss of one of the sweetest voices in the jazz world (or any other); the singer died in her sleep at 82. For those who aren't familiar, think back to "Figure Eight" or "Unpack Your Adjectives" from the "Schoolhouse Rock" cartoons. Who else could've made multiplication tables sound as lovely and smooth?

Artistic integrity: We're respectfully requesting the return of "selling out" as an insult, particularly in terms of music. Yes, times are hard, but the line must be drawn once more. We want to hear artists such as Wilco, Cat Power and Modest Mouse without thinking of a new automobile, and hopefully the next generation agrees (No Age, we're looking at you).

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OVERRATED

The new wave of 3-D: Forgetting the visceral thrills that can result when a child or pickax appears to drop right into your popcorn from the screen, we're a little concerned that this trend appears to be growing, particularly in animated films. Movies still need more than effects. "Coraline," for example, was a visual feast even in 2-D, but the story still felt flat.

Awards show musical mash-ups: Just because there's a room full of talented musicians at your disposal doesn't mean you need to force any more "Hey, you got chocolate in my peanut butter" duets on the world. Beyonce and Tina Turner were fine a few years back, but was there really an audience clamoring for Taylor Swift meeting Miley Cyrus?

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