Search Menu

Liz Phair: Folk Rock That Could Make You blush

Liz’s ‘Guyville’: All Is Phair In Love

Liz Phair: Young, Gifted, And a Suburban Brat

Dark Light

To hear twenty-five-year-old singer Liz Phair tell it, making her debut record, the double album Exile in Guyville (Matador), was like writing a graduate thesis. “I gave myself an assignment,” says the Oberlin-educated Chicago native. “I wanted Guyville to be my equivalent of the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street — something classic.”

The results are anything but academic. Because Phair follows her feelings, instead of the rules, the record is packed not only with crafty pop and off-the-cuff rockers but with quiet, disquieting numbers that chronicle extremes of pleasure and pain. “Men tend to deal with music by filing it — they’re into the prowess of categorizing it rather than the pleasure of listening to it,” says Phair. “Whereas a lot of women don’t see anything weird about switching from an all-rap station to the light classics to FM rock; they have insane record collections based solely on what gets them off.” On Guyville, Phair gets off on power plays and personal struggles, because she usually wins. In her finest snarl, Phair sings, “I kept standing 6’1″ instead of 5’2″ and I loved my life and I hated you.” Now that’s classic.

By Ray Rogers
Interview, June 1993

Related Posts