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Old 07-01-2003, 01:50 PM   #16
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Here's an intersting article from Rolling Stone:



I maintain an informal gauge of pop-music media celebrity that I call the column-inches-to-sales ratio (CISR). Though highly subjective, it's a handy way of measuring the rock critic community's obsession with certain artists in opposition to their actual impact on the marketplace. It's a crowded field, admittedly, but someone has to keep an eye on it.
Liz Phair, of course, has for a decade now enjoyed a superb ranking on the CISR scale. Since many of you may not have the slightest idea who she is, I'll supply the background. In 1993, Phair -- at the time, an upper-middle-class twenty-something from a posh Chicago suburb -- released an indie album called, Exile in Guyville. The album, she claimed, was a song-for-song response to the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street (little actual evidence exists for this), as well as a female critique of the male-oriented indie scene in Chicago.

Pretty good concept, even if the album itself was slight and, as a singer, Phair bore a shall-we-say complicated, on-again, off-again relationship to pitch. Most important to her limited success, though, Phair was a looker and a pottymouth (sample lyric: "Every time I see your face/I get all wet between my legs"). She became an icon to boys (for whom she was the self-consciously slutty dreamgirl who was also presentable to your parents back in the 'burbs) and girls (for whom she was the post-feminist role model for a politically correct age in which a young woman could sing about wanting to be "your blow-job queen").

Those demographic groups proved culturally influential, though after two more albums, they failed to deliver a platinum record to Phair, who is now thirty-six, divorced and the mother of a son. In the interest of providing herself some job security, she hired the Matrix, the production team that has generated hits for Avril Lavigne and innumerable other acts, to co-write and produce four tracks on her new album, tellingly titled Liz Phair.

The faithful, needless to say, are outraged. In the New York Times, one disgruntled true believer accused Phair of committing "an embarrassing form of career suicide." And in a truly spectacular profile in GQ, Phair torments her interviewer, a male devotee, not only with her aesthetic betrayals, but with tales of having recently made out with a Marine (!) in a bar. "We got kicked out of the bar for obscene whatever," Phair explains, coyly. "I was on his lap. It was beyond groping. We were fully . . . whatever. He was unbelievable." The writer is aghast. "To hear that what a woman wants is a Marine -- that's my worst nightmare." Phair's reply: "Every woman does want a Marine. . . . That's an alpha male, baby."

Clearly, Phair is winding this guy up, and she's smart enough that it's possible to hear Sylvia Plath's famous line "Every woman adores a Fascist" lurking behind her glib erotic adventurism. She's understandably rolling her eyes at the naivete of her interviewer and his ilk -- and, by extension, at the wide-eyed disappointment of her female fans, as articulated in the New York Times.

The line about Phair committing "career suicide" is particularly hilarious. Hel-lo, she hasn't released an album in five years. She's trying to have a career, not merely relive her years of slumming boho glory.

In a bizarre way, Jewel's new album, 0304, presents a version of the same issues that Phair is dealing with. Largely known for being a crunchy folkie -- albeit, an especially delectable one -- Jewel has taken some heat for juicing up 0304 with electronic beats and posing for racy magazine spreads. Of course, Jewel has a fan base of millions, so, despite the flack, her album has sold well. Chances are, Phair is not going to be so lucky. Much as she's been accused of selling out, Phair is still unlikely to get radio play while singing about the beauty benefits of splashing around in "white hot cum."

Jewel is fortunate that mainstream audiences, ironically, are far more forgiving of experimentation than the purist supporters of someone like Phair. Phair's privileged fans have merrily traipsed along their careerist paths for the past ten years, but heaven forbid that one of their idols should actually attempt to sell records and escape the hipster ghetto.

Which leads us to the main point: Phair's betrayal finally has little to do with music. Her new album, truth be told, is not really much better or worse than the three that preceded it. But her class betrayal, her abandonment of a silently agreed-upon, self-congratulating consensus of elitist taste, is what's gotten her in hot water with her small core of fans. They're shocked! shocked! that she would get nasty with a common Marine, or use the same producer as a young pop tart who can't even pronounce David Bowie's name correctly. The next thing you know, Phair might even attract some fans who aren't cool, and that would be the worst betrayal of all.
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Old 07-21-2003, 11:07 PM   #17
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Tell me about Liz Phair...

I came across this article on Rolling Stone online about Liz Phair (interview). I thought it was interesting stuff. It sort of made me think back to how she was the "it" grrl couple years back. My first roommate was in love with her and thought she was awesome. ME, I didn't care for her b/c I was in my teeny bopper like Nirvana faze. Plus, I wasn't into listening to "empowered" women music (alah the blatant sexuality that is supposedly rife in her music). I've heard a few songs of hers on the radio and such but I have not really listened to her stuff. I thought her letter to the NY Times was interesting too.

I've read that she Jeweled out her most recent album and called on the Matrix to give it some sheen causing a massive backlash. All of this has made me want to pick up a couple of her past albums as a result and (as well as her most recent album). I've always thought she had a nice voice and was cute (reminds me of a girl I knew in terms of her mannerisms and voice). Besides that I think she's a fairly hot indie queen turned pop star.

Is her new album is as bad as critics say or is it biased hype?

Is Exile really that good? Same as Whip Smart?

Do people still care about Liz?
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Old 07-22-2003, 01:49 AM   #18
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Liz Phair put out 2 great albums: Exile & Whipsmart. She then put out an extremely mediocre album of crappy Avril Lavigne rip offs. Go out, buy the first 2 and be forever changed. Go out and buy the new disc and be forever disappointed.
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Old 07-22-2003, 09:42 AM   #19
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I went ahead and merged with the other Liz thread in here.
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Old 07-22-2003, 10:44 AM   #20
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Exile in Guyville does quite rock my face off. I'll have to check out Whipsmart. Thanks for the recommendation!
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Old 07-22-2003, 04:36 PM   #21
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The new single is growing on me. However, since I am broke, I won't be buying the cd anytime soon.
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Old 07-22-2003, 04:42 PM   #22
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Yeah, I am beginning to like it.


I can handle light pop, as long as it's from her.
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Old 07-22-2003, 05:38 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by u2popmofo
Her new song is extremely poppy, but it wasnt horrible. It's honestly the first thing of her's I've ever heard.
same here
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Old 07-22-2003, 10:39 PM   #24
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I actually think "Complicated" is a pretty catchy song... I hated it when it first came out (my first exposure was the music video) but I think it was Avril's image that turned me off. Nowadays when I listen to the radio and hear it, I don't change the station.

I have no problem with the Matrix in the sense that she worked with them... I'm considering her new album from the few postive responses I've read so far. I'd like to get an album of the "old" Liz to "balance" it out... so what should it be? Exile? Whip Smart? White...?

LOL... Headsonsticks article has piqued my interest more...
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Old 08-16-2003, 02:35 PM   #25
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Fumanchu, Exile is a must! Whip-Smart is a lot lighter, and a lot of fun. I never got into Whitechcolatespaceegg. I don't think I gave it a fair chance though, either.

I had some leftover vacation money, so I bought the new one (impulse buy of course--the store didn't have what I was looking for so I came home with Liz instead).

I've been a fan of Guyville since it came out--I was still in junior high. Now I'm in my 20s, and I don't think the new album is that horrible. Light, breezy, and again, fun. I'll listen to this 'fluff' but you'll never catch me listening to Avril!

P.S. Just like Flower always has, the new song, H.W.C. makes me blush a little. Not as risque as Flower, but you'll never hear me singing that chorus in public! Hehe...
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Old 08-16-2003, 06:57 PM   #26
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"And you f**k like a volcano and you're everything to me." - Supernova. Oh yeah.
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Old 08-17-2003, 11:41 AM   #27
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OK, one more comment on the new album. I dislike Little Digger. She means well, but it comes off as sentimental bunk. I always skip it. The rest is great.
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Old 08-17-2003, 05:28 PM   #28
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Yeah, I hate that song, too.

Other than that, it's alright.
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Old 08-24-2003, 04:07 PM   #29
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Actually I liked Little Digger b/c it was so sentimental compared to some of the overproduced pop of the other songs. She comes off sounding too much like Madonna on this new album (I don't know if its a good thing). I bought "Exile" couple weeks before buying her new album and loved "Exile" even though its a "chick" album... What struck me is how low-fi it was which was good to a point but could get annoying.

After listening to both albums I can see if you're an "Exile" fan how the new album can be such a turn off. I was pretty disappointed with the Matrix collaborations though.

Either way I have a new desktop pic and Liz is it...
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Old 08-24-2003, 04:08 PM   #30
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I'll probably buy Whip Smart today considering how pleased I was with Exile...
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