Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Liz Phair - Exile in Guyville

Two records were integral in my middle school Indie Rock development - Pavement's Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain and Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville. Liz Phair, like Pavement and countless other bands of my formative years were introduced to me during late nights watching programs like 120 minutes and Alternative Nation on MTV. The song "Supernova" off her second record Whipsmart was a moderate hit which led me to buying both that record and Exile in Guyville. This was right around the time the ball on obsessive music consumption really got rolling for me.

Liz Phair has a number of things going for her - she is gorgeous, she is from Chicago and she is able to write incredibly candid, frank songs about sex, men and life, without adhering to completely conventional song structures. Allegedly, her 18 song debut is a song for song response to The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street, but don't hear it so much as I hear her saying "Fuck You" to every dude that's ever wronged her. With that comes her response of vindictive behavior, revenge, and fear. At 12, I didn't really get the complexity of the subject matter, I was just into the songs and the low budget production. Most of all though, I was interested in this new facet of music I was discovering.

Ten years after the release of Exile in Guyville Phair made her most extreme leap into mainstream success with the song "Why Can't I" from her self-titled record. It was a record full of bubblegum pop songs more suitable for a flash in the pan teen star than a woman in her 30's. Although, that song was pretty catchy and everyone has to pay their bills, this record is definitely the better bet when it comes to Phair's career.

Liz Phair - Exile in Guyville

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