By Christy L. Breithaupt
The Detroit News, August 22, 2003
Once appointed indie-rock queen, Liz Phair’s throne is being threatened as a battalion of post-feminist female fans rail against her for committing the highest form of treason.
Phair, known for her often crude and lascivious musings on the opposite sex, has taken her feral vocals and traded them in for a shellacked version of her former self. The change is apparent on her new self-titled album.
Most put the blame on her decision to join forces with the dark side, or pop masterminds Matrix, who produced Avril Lavigne and Britney Spears. Others fume about the scantily clad photographs. But, for all the bad reviews and personal barbs, Phair still stands by her album.
“I really like it. I get my breath taken away from listening to some of the musical moments,” Phair says. “It’s sort of like the sunrise after the night.”
For Phair, in many ways, this is indeed a new day. Despite her new, youthful appearance, the quick-tongued musician has grown up a bit too. After her two most successful albums, “Exile in Guyville” and “whitechocolatespaceegg”, Phair got married, gave birth to a son and got divorced — changes that affected the person as well as the artist.
“It’s hard for me because I am that person now. It’s hard for me to remember what I was feeling during ‘Guyville’,” Phair says. “The way the new album sounds is normal to me.”
Motherhood has given Phair a sense of renewal and permission to act goofy, she says.
“He’s totally changed the way I see the world. He’s just like a little big ball of hope,” Phair says. “You get your youth back in a way.”
As for Phair’s die-hard subjects, they are learning to take the good with the bad and attend her shows, singing along and catching her when she forgets a word or two.
“There are still a ton of old fans coming to the shows,” she says. “Those are the people I’m singing to.”