Song of the Day #4,361: ‘Divorce Song’ – Liz Phair

Liz Phair’s 1993 debut album, Exile in Guyville, is probably the most critically-acclaimed album on my list. In fact, it landed at #1 on Village Voice’s annual Pazz & Jop poll, which aggregates hundreds of critics’ top ten lists.

It will have to settle for #6 on my own list, but that shouldn’t diminish its importance as a trailblazing achievement for the independent rock scene. This album gave a voice to a new generation of young women unafraid to be frank about their sexuality. It still sounds great, too.

Phair says she modeled the album as a song-by-song reflection of The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street, though the parallels aren’t obvious. Both albums contain 18 songs, and some of the themes and song styles overlap, but that’s about it.

The Main Street gimmick is an afterthought, though, once you hear Phair’s frank lyrics, deadpan vocals, and alternative guitar rock flooding from your speakers. Not only isn’t this a retread of The Stones, it’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard before.

[Verse 1]
And when I asked for a separate room
It was late at night, and we’d been driving since noon
But if I’d known how that would sound to you
I would have stayed in your bed for the rest of my life
Just to prove I was right
That it’s harder to be friends than lovers
And you shouldn’t try to mix the two
‘Cause if you do it and you’re still unhappy
Then you know that the problem is you

[Verse 2]
And it’s true that I stole your lighter
And it’s also true that I lost the map
But when you said that I wasn’t worth talking to
I had to take your word on that
But if you’d known how that would sound to me
You would have taken it back
And boxed it up and buried it in the ground
Boxed it up and buried it in the ground
Boxed it up and buried it in the ground
Burned it up and thrown it away

[Verse 3]
You put in my hands a loaded gun
And then told me not to fire it
When you did the things you said were up to me
And then accused me of trying to fuck it up

[Chorus]
But you’ve never been a waste of my time
It’s never been a drag
So take a deep breath and count back from ten
And maybe you’ll be alright

[Verse 4]
And the license said you had to stick around until I was dead
But if you’re tired of looking at my face, I guess I already am

[Chorus]
But you’ve never been a waste of my time
It’s never been a drag
So take a deep breath and count back from ten
And maybe you’ll be alright

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,361: ‘Divorce Song’ – Liz Phair

  1. Andrea Katz says:

    Poignant

  2. Dana Gallup says:

    I don’t think I know anything from this album, as Phair didn’t come onto my radar until 10 years later with her big hit “Why Can’t I?” Even that song was more familiar to me from the decidedly more PG version covered on one of the Disney Kids albums.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.