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

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

  1. aseriesofsneaks

    aseriesofsneaks Forum Resident

    St. Catharines, ON
    “Girls! Girls! Girls!” and “Glory” aren’t among the album’s most memorable tracks, especially lyrically. And a big part of Liz’s appeal has always been her lyrics. To me, and seemingly a lot of her audience, the best songs on the album are “Divorce Song”, “Stratford-on-Guy”, “F*** and Run”, “Explain It to Me” and “6’1”. I’d argue that the album’s best moment musically is the long, sprawling into to “Shatter”. It’s almost hypnotic the way it builds until Liz’s vocals finally come in.
  2. CBS CLASH 3

    CBS CLASH 3 Forum Resident

    This new tune sounds like a real Divorce Song.

    It’s decent. The slight quirkiness of the chords and melodies sounds more akin to her earlier stuff than her past few efforts but lacks the bite that elevated her above the fray.
  3. JayDeeEss

    JayDeeEss Forum Resident

    Chattanooga, TN
    That's fair if that's your thing. I tend to think her lyrics can veer to far into bourgeois cleverness if she lets them and I've thought her strength was more into her studied reading of the lyrics. G!G!G! is a good example of her leaning into this -- it's a middling song from GirlySound vastly improved by cutting the song in half and giving the good part room to breathe.
  4. audiotom

    audiotom Ground Control to Major Tom

    New Orleans La USA
    I saw Liz open for Melissa Etheridge - solo electric guitar - nearly 2 years ago she sounded great

    Her singing here is dreadful

    This sounds a lot more ST than WCSE
  5. drbryant

    drbryant Senior Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    Hmmm. Maybe she’s better off writing songs that sound like they’re actually supposed to be slightly off key, like 6’1.

  6. SoundAdvice

    SoundAdvice Senior Member

    I think its the Univibe guitar on Spanish Doors and tons of her 90's stuff. I actually have trouble thinking of a Phair track I dislike that uses it.
    No Bull likes this.
  7. SoundAdvice

    SoundAdvice Senior Member

    I got comeandgetit as an xmas present and played it 3 times the other day. Some store didn't know what it was and put it up sealed for $5 online a year ago. They didn't ship to canada so I think USD$30 was paypal'd and an email said just send it up and the risk is ours. Canada post is weird/pricey/borders inspection delays.
    aseriesofsneaks and Sean Murdock like this.
  8. No Bull

    No Bull Forum Resident

    Orlando Florida
    Jeremy Engle is my favorite Liz track of all time.
    TeddyB and aseriesofsneaks like this.
  9. mcrichley

    mcrichley Forum Resident

    Been digging back through Liz Phair's discography for the first time in a decade... the Lossless remasters on Apple Music sound nice.

    Divorce Song hit hard, she really painted a picture there.
  10. Sean Murdock

    Sean Murdock Forum Intruder

    Bergenfield, NJ
    Glad you were able to get one! It really fleshes out the self-titled album, and with those five EP tracks and the iTunes exclusive "Insanity" (also from the Michael Penn sessions), anyone can easily make their own "perfect" version of Liz Phair. The material is there, I just don't like the album Capitol released.
    I've seen a couple of people say that -- or maybe it was you, twice? lol -- and that's a song I always passed over. What is it about "Jeremy Engle" that does it for you? For me, my favorite tracks on the comeandgetit EP are "Bouncer's Conversation" and (especially) "Shallow Opportunities." In fact, when I made my own version of the 2004 album, that was the title track!

    aseriesofsneaks, No Bull and DTK like this.
  11. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    I just read Horror Stories and feel like it's a good insight into her character.

    Seemingly a quite pleasant person, from an affluent background, intelligent but impulsive and a bit cheeky.

    Exile was basically her slumming it and writing in character. When Whip-Smart semi-flopped she kind of decided to leave music behind be a upper/middle-class housewife, and her career never really recovered from the fallout from that decision. It's like everything since has been an extracurricular activity.

    She's been a bit, imho, too...opportunistic/populist, pushing the feminist/metoo angle a bit to hard recently - it doesn't feel completely sincere considing who she is. Ryan Adams made a move on me? Golden publicity.
    Spastica, twicks and JayDeeEss like this.
  12. twicks

    twicks Forum Resident

    Well said. After reading the book and this latest round of interviews I just don't think there's that much to Liz, and that's OK. Better to just enjoy the music, however little of it there is.
    Spastica and DTK like this.
  13. Brian Doherty

    Brian Doherty Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA
    The element of the memoir I'd like to see explored more in song is the strong hints of serious bornagain Christianity in her discussion of the hows and whys of infidelity and marriage failure. Not an outlook seen much in her kind of pop/rock intelligent songwriting.
    DTK likes this.
  14. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    Indeed. I didn't read it like she became a Christian but more like she's superstitious/fearful and aware of her actions and how they affect the ying/yan - karma-aware. Possibly psychic? :). But who knows and anyway I agree it's great material for writing.
  15. No Bull

    No Bull Forum Resident

    Orlando Florida
    I think the lyrics are clever and it is fast paced and I like the way it ends. I am guessing it was me that said this before. Lol. I saw a clip of her performing it a few years ago when a fan kept pestering her to play it. (It wasn’t me Lol)
    Sean Murdock likes this.
  16. SoundAdvice

    SoundAdvice Senior Member

    The vinyl really helps the 2003 album, especially the non-Matrix tracks.
    Sean Murdock likes this.
  17. Downsampled

    Downsampled Forum Resident

    Just for the record, two of my favorite non-album tracks are “Don’t Apologize” (from a 2003 Trampoline Records comp), and “Dotted Line” (from the 2015 soundtrack for People Like Us).
  18. Iving


    imo you have to take your time and get to know Liz Phair. She and her music have many layers.

    I just want to chime in to say that the one thing that really, really, really screws up Liz's music is the few Albums affected badly by compression/Loudness. Please Liz - re-release!

    She's still going strong - nothing wrong with this:
    No Bull likes this.
  19. Comicsanstombstone

    Comicsanstombstone Forum Resident

    What is the requisite amount for a woman to “push the feminist angle”, and how is this related to “who she is”?

    Is it really “golden publicity”? I’d imagine her autobiography would mainly appeal to indie rock fans of a certain generation. I doubt the prospect of RA stories would whip up that many additional sales, if any.
    citizensmurf likes this.
  20. ghoulsurgery

    ghoulsurgery House Ghost

    New Jersey
    I recently saw the show A Strange Loop on Broadway, which has a ton of Liz Phair references in the show (and her music is the entire pre-show playlist). They make a comment in the show itself about how they wanted to use some of her songs but she wouldn’t allow it. Pretty funny
  21. Mccook

    Mccook Forum Resident

    Portland, OR
    I thought she “sold out” when she courted the mainstream, but in retrospect she just started to create music that wasn’t for me.

    It did give her access to a broader audience, including featuring on some TV shows. She had a family to feed and you do what you got to do.
    No Bull and tuttle like this.
  22. FuturisticWorkshop

    FuturisticWorkshop Forum Resident

    United State
    I think the biggest issue with Liz AP hair is that she was presented as this indie darling that was also a great writer that we had a lot to look forward to in the future. Her 2nd album could never live up to her first one and when she did White Chocolate Space Egg, that was a big disappointment. She then went all in on being a pop star at three cost of using hit co-writers and then when that ran out she came back to indie like “remember me!” Some artists have a record or two in them worth hearing and that’s it. It’s easier to make songs about being young and a bit of a mess than it is to be a well rounded songwriter. Most can’t pull it off. If you read her liner notes/interviews in the Girlysound box set, she seemed to approach the music that those tapes had as an art project. When Matador got interested she shifted gears and made it more pop friendly. All of this leads to my point, she never was the artist most people thought she was back then. She had a handful of good to great songs and grew out of that phase the way people do college.
    Nothing is going to bring that person back because she never existed. That’s one of the reasons she never had a consistent audience. With the coverage/exposure she was given, she could’ve been bigger, but she couldn’t build on the audience because she couldn’t write more of those songs. The shameless selling out was awful too
    No Bull and Spastica like this.
  23. tuttle

    tuttle Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    I endorse your comments.

    Long ago when this thread was created, with people saying that Liz Phair sold out, I posted this:
    Someone replied, saying:
    How terrible! Isn't that what most of us do?: take jobs to make money? Why do fans not permit artists the same freedom of choice. Whether you like the result or not isn't the point. Fans often couch their dislike of artists' commercial paths with terms such as "integrity". Give me a break.

    The artist, like anyone, should be free to choose a path to make money if that's what they want.
  24. PhilBorder

    PhilBorder Forum Resident

    Sheboygan, WI
    From the first strum to the end 'Guyville' is a once in a lifetime album. Ironically even though she's had pitch problems throughout her career, it doesn't matter on Guyville. Her voice works great in that simple unornamented context. More production meant she had to sound more 'professional' and then she just sounded weird, if not strained. And she had a bunch of songs that rivalled 'Blue' for unvarnished candor
  25. floweringtoilet

    floweringtoilet Forum Resident

    Warren, RI, USA
    I don't like her stuff after Whip Smart, but a critically lauded artist shifting focus to sell more records hardly qualifies as a tragedy.
    No Bull, andycherry, tuttle and 2 others like this.

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