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

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

  1. drbryant

    drbryant Senior Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I preordered the signed copy of rock’s greatest tragedy’s new album.

    It was $15 in shipping charges, looking forward to it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
    speedracer, mattdegu, intv7 and 2 others like this.
  2. mattdegu

    mattdegu Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cardiff, UK
    This thread always shows up for me when I come back here! Joking aside of course, the word 'tragedy', even when you are conflating a person with their career, is just not the right word to use to describe someone. This is all about our personal expectations at the end of the day, which are typically subjective. 'Disappointment', as expressed by the poster before last, is much better - though it is still subjective of course and I personally wouldn't agree with it either, as I happen to appreciate all the stuff she does and am too philosophical about creativity anyway.

    I would accept that it's occasionally said it is tragic for us all when a promising light entirely lives and dies under a bushel, but not when the talent is or has been out there and just fails to satiate certain critics and fans.

    Pompous list of definitions from the OED:

    Tragedy - An event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe.
    Creativity - The use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.
    Expectation - A belief that someone will or should achieve something.
    Disappointment - Sadness or displeasure caused by the non-fulfilment of one's hopes or expectations. A person or thing that causes it.
    Subjective - Based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.
     
    andycherry likes this.
  3. speedracer

    speedracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sapa
    Life is unPhair.
     
    twicks, Buddybud, gregorya and 2 others like this.
  4. audiotom

    audiotom Ground Control to Major Tom

    Location:
    New Orleans La USA
  5. mattdegu

    mattdegu Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cardiff, UK
    That's kind of tautological imo, but exactly how 'pop' is it anyway? If that is fluffy what word do you use for fluffy? Phair has always had a pop to her songs, some people just want see her hold her axe I reckon.
     
    speedracer likes this.
  6. Buggyhair

    Buggyhair Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I'd be careful about using a Rolling Stone list as a way of proving anything, especially when that particular list had more to do with "diversity" than music. Guyville is a nice album, but it is in no way the equal of Dark Side of the Moon, or so many albums that came in lower than hers. Even if you happen to like Guyville more, you can't make a reasonable argument for it being in that company.
     
    Dudley Morris likes this.
  7. Kris-AOTY

    Kris-AOTY Guard the Spark

    Location:
    Austin
    I’m all for added diversity in these sorts of lists but “Exile in Guyville” that high is just hilarious.
     
    the nightfly likes this.
  8. Buggyhair

    Buggyhair Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I found most of the list hilarious, but that might even be the point. It's clickbait intended to get attention and spark controversy.
     
  9. mattdegu

    mattdegu Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cardiff, UK
    Sorry, but comparing it so strictly to the mega-selling prog album Dark Side of the Moon (which isn't even Pink Floyd's best album in my own opinion fwiw) would normally be just daft in my opinion. Obviously toplists do compare things to some degree, but do they really draw that much of a margin between their entries? People always get so scandalised by the positioning on these lists, as if there is some kind of desert of despair between each number. If it's on the list it should be a great entry. It's when there are particularly mediocre entries around the very top it gets silly. I personally don't think that rank over-positioning is particularly the case for either of these albums, though I know plenty of people who would argue that it has certainly been the case for Dark Side of the Moon in the past I have to say.

    As someone who likes both I can say that I think Exile is certainly greater album to me, and I expect that a lot of more modern critics do to. But they are very different experiences for sure. Not that many people love these two genres of music equally imo.
     
  10. Buggyhair

    Buggyhair Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI
    There a difference between "greater" and "like better". I don't happen to like Jimi Hendrix all that much, it's not my style, but I would never question that his greatness and importance rises above a lot of the things I do like. I'm not so arrogant to believe that just because I like something it qualifies as universally great. I don't see art museums ditching their great paintings just because it's "boring" that the same old paintings get all of the attention. Sometimes they do because they are that great and that historically important.
     
  11. aseriesofsneaks

    aseriesofsneaks Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Catharines, ON
    You all realize that the rankings were determined by the number of votes each album received from the panel of artists, producers, critics and music industry personnel who participated, similar to how the Village Voices’ Pazz and Jop poll was tabulated every year, right? And you also realize that there’s a newer generation of artists and critics that Exile in Guyville speaks to and influenced more than, say, Dark Side of the Moon? It’s neither an attempt to be edgy or controversial nor is it some great conspiracy. As time passes and new generations of listeners weigh in, the canon will evolve and change.
     
  12. mattdegu

    mattdegu Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cardiff, UK
    You have a couple of tangential arguments here, but they don't really sit very well together in terms of a response. I think it's actually a little arrogant of you to presume that anyone here automatically assumes their appreciation of something alone equates to its canonical status good or bad, although people no doubt do it here all the time(!) But we can all make our own quality judgements and also seek to incorporate peer and expert comparisons as we see fit, and it happens to be the case that Exile is widely considered to be a great album by fans and critics alike. It's a bit ironic that you go on to simply state that no one can make a reasonable argument for Exile being better than albums of the quality of Dark Side of the Moon! It is of course your own personal opinion that Exile is a "nice album" but not comparable. Surely though, you do actually know your view is not shared by any number of music critics and curators (to use a museum analogy), at least outside of the World of Eternal Prog?

    As I've said, I personally think it is normally a bit of a pointless exercise to compare such different music, but you certainly can compare them in terms of both listing and rating the recognised art-form of the music album, and I believe that people can certainly can make a real argument for Exile to be better than Dark of the Moon on a critical song-per-song analysis. But then I do think thin that Exile is great album of its type and not just "nice". Also I think that Dark (though it still wows me) has probably always been a degree over rated. It still has its aural punch for sure, and there is that problem of comparing Floyd's polished prog with Phair's distinctive and individual indy pop/punk, but lyrically Dark would ultimately lose on a weighted track by track basis imo. In terms of historical weight, they both have it of course.
     
  13. mattdegu

    mattdegu Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cardiff, UK
    I don't think it changes much other than that Rolling Stone themselves aren't pushing the supposed 'diversity', the various participants are. So yes it would be silly criticising the rag for that, unless of course they are suspected of sourcing particular participants based on their expected input! I'm not sure what the focus on diversity is all about anyway. To be honest I didn't look at the referenced poll when writing my response, I'm sure I'll have seen it though unless it's particularly recent. Exile always seems to appear in them these days. I guess Dark Side of the Moon too.

    Good point about Exile being more recent and hence more relevant. But actually it's getting on (sad to say, time flies etc) - and with that said I think that it's held its relevancy and perhaps even level of respect for a longer than Dark Side of the Moon actually did across the full breadth of critical and fan opinion. I'm old enough to remember when Dark was still relatively new and Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall all came out. It was the music of my household. After all those albums and punk for sure Dark was starting to be seen as a fine period piece, but maybe not the best thing ever. It's held up better than instant supernovas like, say, Brothers in Arms I think, but it's still gradually diminished over time. Exile, I don't know, after it found its way into these polls it might never have dropped. I think there was an anniversary edition too wasn't there? All that kind of thing will push an album into the limelight. Mind you, Dark is probably on its 15th remaster! But I think its audience is particularly evergreen. People who love prog really love prog I find.
     
    aseriesofsneaks likes this.
  14. drbryant

    drbryant Senior Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    But you are talking about voters consisting of 350 artists, critics, producers and record company execs. And they are pretty transparent on how votes are tabulated; although obviously, you could skew the vote by including more young voters, or more female voters, etc.

    [Edit] OK, I see that someone else has already made the point. Anyway, I don't doubt that there might be biases depending on how voters were selected. I just want to be clear that this is now a bunch of RS writers sitting around a table while Wenner has a veto right - it's a real poll.
     
    mattdegu and aseriesofsneaks like this.
  15. mattdegu

    mattdegu Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cardiff, UK
    I'd actually forgotten about that wenner veto thing, I remember reading about it now. RS is in some respects just another music mag in the UK, but it still carries a lot of weight here and does everywhere I think. I can see more where some of the cynicism comes from now.
     
  16. MGSeveral

    MGSeveral Augm

    RS carries even less weight than that in the UK. I rarely see it on the shelves next to Mojo, Select etc, and I've not seen any great discussions on their 'best' lists, or reviews, etc.
     
  17. mattdegu

    mattdegu Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cardiff, UK
    Yeah I didn't mean it was the equal to UK magazines. And you're unlikely to see it in British corner shops any more (if you ever did in most of them), but it has still has a lot of heft as a quotable reference I'm sure (if not quite as a subject of debate). I think that even when kids see it on an album poster or sticker they'd take notice, simply as the brand has always been there and will symbolise as such. So it's still a recognised name here, and that's all I meant really. When you think about it that does actually carry a lot of weight in itself. It was definitely in WHSmiths the last time I looked, though only certain people ever bought it in the UK I think. I love American music and I actually prefer American critics (especially for British music), but I've probably only ever bought it from an actual shop a handful of times myself, maybe the same amount secondhand.
     
  18. drbryant

    drbryant Senior Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    So Mojo and UK publications don’t rank Exile very highly?
     
  19. CaptainFeedback1

    CaptainFeedback1 It's nothing personal.

    Location:
    Oxfordshire, UK
    Pretty much, yes - they monitor my output and pay my wages, much like the fans do....
     
  20. mattdegu

    mattdegu Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cardiff, UK
    We're just talking about how popular Rolling Stone magazine is in the UK. For the UK to rate American music highly they first have to acknowledge it! I've always found the UK press very biased and pompous. But I have a feeling it knows and likes Exile well enough.
     
  21. speedracer

    speedracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sapa
    Floyd floyd floyd floyd floyd floyd floyd
    and
    Liz liz liz liz liz liz liz
    Punkpop and prog it's just
    The same old music biz
     
    mattdegu likes this.
  22. Rocketdog

    Rocketdog Forum Resident

    Location:
    ME, USA
    This, this and all of this nails it on the head pretty squarely as far as I’m concerned. The only thing I’d add is that maybe trying to live up to all the hype that Exile In Guyville generated ultimately proved to be too hard a task for her. Not that she didn’t have it in her to try, but perhaps, just really didn’t want to - hence the lack of touring. Maybe we, as a listening audience, also just expected more out of her than she either truly had to offer, or was willing to give. With her following releases, it seemed like she at least attempted to make it seem like she was trying to further her career. But maybe, in reality, it was more of a case of her going through the motions to make it look like she was. How much of it was what she wanted versus trying to appease what the label wanted? She could also have been coming at it with the attitude of if this works - great, but it if doesn’t then I’m really not all that bothered by it. I don’t know. Just a theory.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
  23. speedracer

    speedracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sapa
    Liz Phair - Spanish Doors , out in June. Well crafted alt poprock, mature intelligent lyrics,
    good sound, production, layered vox - maybe not everyone's cup of tea but hardly a tragedy - she sounds great, looks great, still able to express herself and be relevant within the limited confines of rock music. So she is a white dwarf not a supernova, but still shining, not a black hole yet.

     
  24. JayDeeEss

    JayDeeEss Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    It is one of the more uneven albums ever to be considered great. It veers from a handful of songs with a super-creative arrangements to the band playing an unconvincing moderate-rock Rolling Stones imitation. I think people just tend to remember the stand-out tracks -- there's no beating "Girls Girls Girls" and "Glory" -- which isn't the worst policy for Liz Phair albums.
     
    Kris-AOTY likes this.
  25. drbryant

    drbryant Senior Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    The new track is solid. And it sounds like what a middle aged Liz would sound like if she had stayed the course. Promising.
     

Share This Page

molar-endocrine