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.
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.
Happy Birthday to my lovely wife!
It’s a Random Weekend, so you know the drill. I spin the wheel and see what song shall forever be associated with her special day. Here we go…
Well, OK. ‘Love/Hate’ is a deep cut from Liz Phair’s 2003 self-titled album, which itself was something of a love/hate affair (probably tilting a bit more toward hate).
Liz Phair’s self-titled 2003 album has been ripped by longtime fans and music critics alike as a crass attempt to sell out.
Phair initially turned in a set of tracks produced by Michael Penn, but Capitol Records, as the saying goes, didn’t hear a single. They teamed her up with hit songwriting/production team The Matrix to come up with some more commercial material.
The Random iTunes Fairy seems eerily prescient lately.
Last week she served up a song from the Grease soundtrack the very day Fox aired its live performance of Grease. And this week, in the middle of my Pazz & Jop rundown, the Saturday selection is the opening track of Liz Phair’s 1993 album Exile in Guyville, which topped that year’s poll.