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 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

liz phair

It's hard to say to someone who didn't catch it at the time exactly how well Liz Phair hit the nail on the head with a series of albums (Exile in Guyville, Whip Smart, and to a lesser extent Whitechocolatespaceegg) in the nineties. Yeah, these discs (in particular the first one) were all over the critics lists...without buying into all that acclaim, and even though Phair has subsequently been less beloved by critics and fans, I think that work holds up well.

To put it simply, Liz Phair had something to say and she said it. The music really speaks to a time (80's/90's)...and an attitude (raw honesty). For myself, I keep listening to these records and finding new things. If you haven't checked them out, I'd recommend any of the three. This lyric, from Exile in Guyville, gives a taste of what I'm talking about:

I was flying into Chicago at night
Watching the lake turn the sky into blue-green smoke
The sun was setting to the left of the plane
And the cabin was filled with an unearthly glow
In 27-D I was behind the wing
Watching landscape roll out
Like credits on a screen
The earth looked like it was lit from within
Like a poorly assembled electrical ball as we moved
Out of the farmlands into the grid
The plan of the city was all that you saw
And all of these people sitting totally still
As the ground raced beneath them thirty thousand feet down

It took an hour, maybe a day
But once I really listened, the noise
Just went away...

-from "Stratford-On-Guy, Exile in Guyville Matador 1993
Lyrics thanks to Aaron Walker

That's not necessarily typical Liz Phair...she writes mostly about life and sex and, well, life and sex, but I guess I'd say this: in retrospect, looking back, even though she was seemingly singing just about herself...Liz Phair made some songs that speak to the raw experience one small generation of folks. In doing so, however, she created some songs that define a moment.

Liz Phair is worth checking out if you don't know her already.


  • New hardcore french writer:

    "Idéologiquement Cash/Chiotte

    L'aplat de niaiseries répandu sur le texte a empêché de dévoiler la puissance colérique des propos en général. Une sorte de philosophie en parfaite adéquation avec l'époque. Ni avant-garde, ni conservatisme."

    To be continued: http://hirsute.hautetfort.com

    By Anonymous andy Verol, at 2:47 PM  

  • How randomly cool. I hadn't given Exile in Guyville a thought in years. But I absolutely love that disc.

    Burning it into my iTunes library now... thanks

    By Blogger KC, at 11:48 PM  

  • My favorite is Shatter:

    I don't know if I could fly a plane
    Well enough to tail spin out your name
    Or high enough to lose control completely
    Honey, I'm thinking maybe
    You know, just maybe

    But I love the drum effects on the Strattford-on-Guy song.

    By Anonymous fiver, at 5:02 PM  

  • she looks sooooo different now. but i guess we all do. : )

    By Blogger Danyel, at 4:11 PM  

  • What freaked me out while I was replaying (and loving) Guyville is this: she reminds me of my daughter.

    When I was into Liz Phair in the '90s, I was not thinking of her as a daughter. Not even close...

    By Blogger KC, at 11:37 AM  

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