Song of the Day #5,272: ‘Miss Mary Mack’ – Liz Phair

When today’s random selection first popped up, it appeared to be a track from Liz Phair’s 2010 album Funstyle. I knew that album was a lot more experimental than her previous pop-centric releases, but this song sounded more like something from the indie pioneer’s 1993 studio debut Exile in Guyville.

Turns out this cut came from a bonus disc included with Funstyle that compiled tracks from a series of early demos Phair recorded under the name Girly Sound. Released before Guyville, these songs were captured on a four track tape deck in her bedroom.

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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.

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Song of the Day #5,014: ‘Satisfied’ – Liz Phair

Liz Phair’s 2010 album Funstyle was self-released by the artist after she left Capitol Records. The album followed a couple of poorly-received stabs at a more commercial sound and signaled her increasing dissatisfaction with the direction of her career.

Funstyle fared a bit better, critically, but just a bit. It also seemed for awhile like the last thing Phair would release, until she returned 11 years later with the well-reviewed Soberish.

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Song of the Day #4,730: ‘Spanish Doors’ – Liz Phair

Liz Phair is an artist I had no expectation of hearing from in 2021. It’s been 11 years since her last release, the half-assed, grab-bag double album Funstyle, and 16 years since her last serious release, 2005’s forgotten (and forgettable) Somebody’s Miracle.

Before that came 2003’s Liz Phair, which earned her a minor hit in ‘Why Can’t I?’ but also the derision of fans who accused her of selling out by teaming up with pop hitmakers. When you looked past the glossy production, and the whiplash effect of seeing an indie trailblazer in such a different context, that album wasn’t half-bad.

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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.

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