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Less Foul Phair

Phair and Square

Liz Phair

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A rock ‘n’ roll bad girl washes her mouth out

Her most famous songs are the ones you won’t hear on the radio. That’s because Liz Phair… see, Liz Phair is a girl with a reputation. Since her 1993 debut, Exile in Guyville, she’s been known less for her crafty love-gone-good/love-gone-bad songwriting and more for her blunt lyrics. With the release of her third album, whitechocolatespaceegg, the thirty-one-year-old Phair just might be cleaning up her act. Or is she?

Esquire: Your new album — the songs just aren’t that raunchy anymore. What gives?
Phair: Oh, but you’re wrong. There’s “Ride”, there’s “Baby Got Going”… well, it’s not about blow jobs; it’s about… you’re not quite sure what. I’m not as direct about it now because I’ve had a lot more sex since then.

This is one of the most anticipated records of the year… and last year… and the year before that. What happened?
I wanted to reincarnate myself, musically and lyrically. And I’m a very haphazard band person. So there were a lot of fits and starts, and for a while there, I was much more, um, domestically inclined.

Right. You got married, had a baby — ever sing him to sleep?
This is embarrassing to admit, but all mommies out there will be like “What? You didn’t sleep-train him at four months?” but till almost eight months, I’d sing to him every freakin’ night and for every nap.

Any of your own songs?
Oh, no, just mommy songs, songs I’d make up for him, like [sings] “Nicky’s flying in a spa-a-ace taco, a spa-a-ace taco.”

Any chance you’ll record them?
Someone said I should do a children’s album, but… I could never do that.

By Andrew Chaikivsky
Esquire, August 1998

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