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Higher Learning

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Higher Learning was a film directed by the late John Singleton that was released in 1995. It starred Omar Epps, Laurence Fishburne, Kristy Swanson, Michael Rapaport, Jennifer Connelly, and Ice Cube.

The soundtrack for the album featured a diverse roster of artists including Ice Cube, Me’Shell NdegéOcello, The Brand New Heavies, Tori Amos, and Liz Phair, among others.

Liz contributed the track, “Don’t Have Time,” a song that’s become a favorite among fans, even if it’s remained elusive from her live shows.

The song was nominated for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance at the 37th Annual Grammy Awards , but lost to Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know.”

Higher Learning: Music from the Motion Picture (1995)

Released: January 3, 1995
Label: Epic Soundtrax, 550 Music
Format: LP, CD, Cassette
Country: US, Europe, Australia, Japan
Availability: Moderate

Written by Liz Phair
Produced by Liz Phair and Brad Wood
Engineered by Brad Wood
Mixed and recorded at Idful Studios, Chicago
Published by Civil War Days, Inc./Sony Tunes Inc.

Vocals, Guitar: Liz Phair
Bass, Drums: Brad Wood

01. Ice CubeHigher4:32
02. Ice CubeSomething to Think About0:10
03. Me’Shell NdegéOcelloSoul Searchin’ (I Wanna Know If It’s Mine)6:23
04.Mista GrimmSituation Grimm3:54
05.Raphael SaadiqAsk of You6:02
06.Tori AmosLosing My Religion5:00
07.The Brand New HeaviesHigher Learning / Time for Change4:52
08.Cole Hauser and Michael RapaportMy New Friend0:27
09.Rage Against the MachineYear of the Boomerang4:05
11.Liz PhairDon’t Have Time3:14
12.Tori AmosButterfly3:07
13.ZhanéBy Your Side4:52
14.Eve’s PlumEye3:51
15.Stanley ClarkeThe Learning Curve3:30

I was incredibly proud to be on the Higher Learning soundtrack. They took a chance, using one of my more experimental songs, “Don’t Have Time,” and I got a Grammy nomination for it. Thank you, John Singleton. Safe ascension. Rest in peace.”

Liz Phair (April 30, 2019)

Press Release

Following the lead of fellow film auteur Quentin Tarantino, writer/director John Singleton has discarded the standard soundtrack formula in exchange for something that encompasses his film’s narrative and point of view. HIGHER LEARNING the movie examines the philosophical differences between races, sexes and class factions on America’s college campuses. HIGHER LEARNING the soundtrack reflects not only the diverse musical tastes of these groups, but their various politics as well.

The agendas and representations are on nearly every track. Ice Cube opens with a simmering shuffle that sets the narrative scene and fumes about race relations (“Higher”). Rage Against The Machine exhibit a thrashing agit-rap that serves their leftist views (“Year Of The Boomerang”). Liz Phair feeds the war of the sexes by deconstructing some old boyfriend’s psyche (“Don’t Have Time”). Tori Amos’ radical reinterpretation of R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” as a slow philosophical dirge emphasizes the instability of young people’s worlds. OutKast produce a set of wickedly fierce rhymes about cultural mis-apprehensions (“Phobias”). The radical diversity of the album’s closing cuts–the heavy, alternative rock of Eve’s Plum, and Stanley Clarke’s jazz-funk–is simply the final example of how the HIGHER LEARNING soundtrack firmly embodies the cultural melting pot that it strives to describe.

The recording of [“Don’t Have Time”] was bittersweet for me. Liz had canceled the Whip-Smart tour and the band had returned from NYC (for Letterman show taping) feeling disappointed. The request to record a song for Higher Learning had been out there for awhile and eventually just Liz and I convened at Idful to record “Don’t Have Time.”
A melancholy experience.

– Brad Wood (November 27, 2019)


Take a look around
This is what it’s now
It’s a little bridge now, baby
It’s a little bridge now
Just a photograph
Kinda makes me laugh
It’s a little kid now, baby
Some little kid

If I could solve your problems
What do you think I would be
One stupid seagull picking styrofoam up out of the sea?
Don’t have time
Don’t have time
Don’t have time for all your problems
Why don’t you solve them?

Take a look around
This is what it’s now
It’s a little bridge now, baby
It’s a little bridge now
Just a photograph
Kinda makes me laugh
It’s a little kid now
Pudgy, dumb little kid

If I could solve your problems
What do you think I would see?
All of my beautiful banquet receipts have been laid out for me
It’s been played out for me

Don’t have time for your fear, and your tea, and your queer little feats
And your joy, and your sweet little boy
And you’re trapped in your sphere
I’m sorry but no one’s home

I couldn’t hear you, and now I think I’ve lost you
I could’ve made it easier and you would think that’s good
Don’t remember feeling older any worse than feeling wooden and alone
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