Is Liz Phair one of Rock's Greatest Living Tragedies?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by I333I, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. Frank

    Frank Forum Resident

    The entire basis of your speculation is you claiming to have some special insight into the way she lives her life because you once lived where she lives and also some gossip you say you've heard. That's just goofy.

    Driving distance to a highway.

    Come on.
    No. I'm making the argument that she's an active artist with what seems to be as thriving a career as she wants, and that as an individual human being, rather than someone's imagined archetype based on what appears to be youthful hurt feelings, that's her right.

    So it's basically that vs. trying to figure out her motivations and inspirations based on her driving distance to a highway. That's the discussion.

    I quoted your essence.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
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  2. PlushFieldHarpy

    PlushFieldHarpy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Indiana
    Artists who hit out of the ballpark once and are never able to replicate or equal it make me think maybe they had some help? Sort of like Hole, with Live Through This, as a contemporary example.
     
  3. erikdavid5000

    erikdavid5000 Forum Resident

    Look at the title of this thread. I’m merely speculating. I’m also using the statements of people who have met/know her as a basis for my wonderings. I certainly hope it’s all B.S. And come on, we’re talking about my hometown. Forgive me for pretending to know the place..... Any little bit possible insight is exactly that.

    I’m gonna use your logic in the next Mike Love bashing thread btw. We’ll see how strongly it’s adheared to ;)
     
  4. I333I

    I333I Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ventura
    I knew we’d end up seeing eye to eye at some point!
     
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  5. erikdavid5000

    erikdavid5000 Forum Resident

    Was bound to happen :)
     
  6. Chris Bernhardt

    Chris Bernhardt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago IL
    I like the S/T more then you it looks like, but I can't remember a album that got so much VICIOUS reviews then that one . It was personal with a lot of people.
     
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  7. Stephen J

    Stephen J Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    FWIW, I thought Celebrity Skin was (and is) as good as Live Through This, artistically both were A-level in my book.

    But there is a parallel with the thread: Celebrity Skin was clearly intended to break Hole mainstream, make that band a big commercial act, just as 2003's Liz Phair was intended to break her mainstream as well. The other parallel is that while both sort of did that (Celebrity Skin went top 10 and platinum; Liz Phair did produce a top 40 hit for her) neither quite did it either, both records dented and cracked the door to mainstream stardom without quite kicking it down, and both resulted in some backlash from their core indy fan bases. In short, they were gambles that, commercially, didn't quite pay off, like gaining 9 yards on 4th and 10.
     
  8. No Bull

    No Bull Forum Resident

    For sure.
     
  9. 200 Balloons

    200 Balloons Forum Resident

    The vast majority of artists never have one song connect with a broader audience, much less an entire album. Doing it again when the initial cultural moment has passed is far from common. I'd argue this has become even more difficult over time as it's easier and faster for the competition to absorb and react to a hit song nowadays compared to decades past. I think the simplest explanation is that the musicians who are successful for any length of time are huge outliers. Live Through This has probably been more successful than something like 99.999% of all the albums ever released.
     
  10. seed_drill

    seed_drill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tryon, NC, USA
    She hit it out twice and then had a kid and probably no longer wanted to advertise that she was someone's B-Job queen. If she got help, it was more likely in her failed attempt to go mainstream than on those first two albums.
     
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  11. PhilBorder

    PhilBorder Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sheboygan, WI
    I don't think she ever denied she had help. The right guys at the right time. Just by trusting her sensibilities enough to, for instance, lay down the basic tracks to a click track and add the drums later is one of those methods that makes 'Exile' what it is. Thankfully no conventional producer got anywhere near her for that first album. Girly Show: The Oral History of Liz Phair’s ‘Exile In Guyville’
     
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  12. PhilBorder

    PhilBorder Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sheboygan, WI
    I didn't get the whole 'Manhattan Beach' part of the discussion. She made exile when she was living with Mom and Dad in Winnetka IL - if you've been there, it's easy to see that it is in fact one of the wealthiest communities in all of the U.S. I don't think she ever tried to pretend she was some lost street urchin, or in danger of starving.
     
  13. No Bull

    No Bull Forum Resident

    Weird how Cobain died and the Quality of Hole's music died as well...
     
  14. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    Uh, but it Didn't. Half of Celebrity Skin is pretty great, same goes for Nobody's Daughter. Very talented woman, Courney.
     
  15. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    But you're interrupting the snobbism and the stereotyping...
     
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  16. erikdavid5000

    erikdavid5000 Forum Resident

    I didn't mean that as some definitive statement regarding her later output. I mean't it half jokingly like "If you moved to my hometown, you'd lose you're edge too, haha" but people overreacted so hard, it became a big thing.
     
  17. Canadacrowe

    Canadacrowe Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    I'd like her to return with a strong album -- RA production sounds promising, and at least in the Fall there was some twitter talk about it still being a work in progress (though I think Jenny Lewis made a pretty crappy album with RA at the helm).

    "Time and place" makes a huge difference in careers. I remember her first appearing and it was markedly different than a lot of what else I was being listened to. I guess my first exposure to lo-fi in some form. Exile came at the right time, the songs were catchy with a bit of controversy, plus there was a resurgence in females in music (Lilith Fair). Release that album a few years earlier or later, and it may have easily been forgotten. Whipsmart I still hold as a solid album, and WCSE has some solid tracks.

    One thing that did seem to limit her was touring. I'm not sure if she ever really toured in a dedicated way, even when she moved into a more poppy direction?
     
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  18. PhilBorder

    PhilBorder Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sheboygan, WI
    ok - thanks for clarifying. I was just offering some insight based on my familarity with the area she was from.
     
  19. I333I

    I333I Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ventura
    But she was a snobby kid during those Chicago days. That’s a lot different than being married, having kids, etc. I still think your point is sound.
     
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  20. Buggyhair

    Buggyhair Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Funny, I was also thinking of Matthew Sweet as an equivalent in terms of strong start and diminishing returns afterwards. He never tried to doll himself up, though. Quite the opposite.
     
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  21. seal.rock

    seal.rock Member

    Location:
    San Francisco, cA
    Those records are fantastic. I don't consider her a 'tragedy' - she gave us those records and that's all she had to give. Haven't looked into her later stuff. Who knows? She very well may come back in a few years and do a decade of great work! Pixies have now been back together far longer than they were in the first place. Etc. But thanks for reminding me of those albums. If she came back at the right moment (now seems about right) there would be great interest.
     
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  22. No Bull

    No Bull Forum Resident

    Matthew Sweet has made something like 14 studio albums no counting his covers records with Susanna Hoffs... I wish Liz was as prolific has Matthew... his last couple of records Modern Art and Tomorrow Forever have been high quality... imo...
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  23. Buggyhair

    Buggyhair Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I liked The Thorns album, but of course that's a group effort.
     
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  24. Leaman

    Leaman Well-Known Member

    Very good comparison. If Liz had that many records in her discography, it wouldn't be so easy for critics and casual listeners to draw lines in the sand of her "good" albums vs. her "lesser" or "bad" albums. She'd have a body of work where people could notice trends over time.

    In the nine years after Whip-Smart, she put out two albums, which make the changes an artist goes through stick out way more than if they were putting out an album every year or two. If she had put out an album or two in the five-year gap leading up to the S/T album, maybe it would have been less of a shock to people.
     
  25. erikdavid5000

    erikdavid5000 Forum Resident

    I think you and the poster who wished she'd tour more might have hit on it (or the closest we're gonna get) .... Post WCSE the effort seemed to be more toward "making it" on a major level rather than being prolific like Matthew Sweet or Guided By Voices and being a working artist/act. She'd perhaps have a bigger fanbase if she'd stayed more consistently visible and out there! Then again, I don't know how much she really enjoys playing live and touring. It's not for everyone. Especially if the money isn't rolling in from the work.
     
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