Song of the Day #5,041: ‘Fuck and Run’ – Liz Phair

Today’s Random Weekend selection is the standout track from Liz Phair’s seminal 1993 album Exilt in Guyville, and probably the most celebrated and discussed song of Phair’s entire career.

‘Fuck and Run’ is a raw, sad, deadpan account of the aftermath of a one-night stand — one in a series of many. It finds Phair regretting the pattern of meaningless encounters she’s fallen into and longing for an old-fashioned romance, however unlikely that is to happen.

The song’s most provocative line, and one that raises all sorts of uncomfortable questions, comes in the chorus, when Phair declares that this has been her pattern since she was seventeen, then “even when I was twelve.”

Was the song’s narrator really having casual sex at 12? Or is her adult sex life echoing tendencies she exhibited in other ways as a pre-teen? Or is the line just thrown in there for shock value, to add a layer of discomfort to a song that might otherwise be taken as a jokey anthem?

[Verse 1]
I woke up alarmed
I didn’t know where I was at first
Just that I woke up in your arms
And almost immediately I felt sorry
Cause I didn’t think this would happen again
No matter what I could do or say
Just that I didn’t think this would happen again
With or without my best intentions

[Refrain]
And what ever happened to a boyfriend
The kind of guy who tries to win you over
And what ever happened to a boyfriend
The kind of guy who makes love cause he’s in it
And I want a boyfriend
I want a boyfriend
I want all that stupid old shit
Like letters and sodas
Letters and sodas

[Verse 2]
You got up out of bed
You said you had a lot of work to do
But I heard the rest in your head
And almost immediately I felt sorry
Cause I didn’t think this would happen again
No matter what I could do or say
Just that I didn’t think this would happen again
With or without my best intentions

[Refrain]
And what ever happened to a boyfriend
The kind of guy who tries to win you over
And what ever happened to a boyfriend
The kind of guy who makes love cause he’s in it
And I want a boyfriend
I want a boyfriend
I want all that stupid old shit
Like letters and sodas
Letters and sodas

[Chorus]
I can feel it in my bones
I’m gonna spend another year alone
It’s fuck and run, fuck and run
Even when I was seventeen
Fuck and run, fuck and run
Even when I was twelve

[Verse 3]
You almost felt bad
You said that I should call you up
But I knew much better than that
And almost immediately I felt sorry
Cause I didn’t think this would happen again
No matter what I could do or say
Just that I didn’t think this would happen again
With or without my best intentions

[Chorus]
I can feel it in my bones
I’m gonna spend my whole life alone
It’s fuck and run, fuck and run
Even when I was seventeen
Fuck and run, fuck and run
Even when I was twelve

6 thoughts on “Song of the Day #5,041: ‘Fuck and Run’ – Liz Phair

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I assume you mean that this song is the most celebrated song of her career amongst her fan base, since I have never heard it before and, clearly, “Why Can’t I?” is the song the rest of the world actually knows (and celebrates).

    • Clay says:

      Among fans and critics. The album ‘Why Can’t I’ appeared on was widely panned, though I think even the haters have to agree that’s a great song.

      Very different careers, of course, but would you say ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ is Billy Joel’s most celebrated song because it sold the most copies and reached #1?

      • Amy says:

        Bite your tongue

      • Dana Gallup says:

        No, I would say Billy Joel’s most celebrated song is probably “Piano Man,” and most discussed probably “Only the Good Die Young.” But obviously very different careers as most people only know one song from Phair, but know and perhaps celebrate any number of Joel’s hits.

  2. Amy says:

    She’s likely referencing a pattern of behavior, maybe even an attitude towards boys, that was with her before she became sexually active. At least that’s my hope. 🤞🏼

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