By Gina Daugherty
CiN Weekly, October 29, 2003
Chicago may get the credit for being Liz Phair’s hometown, but the brutally candid songstress spent some of her formative years in Cincinnati’s neighborhoods.
Phair, who will be at Bogart’s Nov. 10 to support her recently released fourth album, Liz Phair, is excited about returning to one of her favorite cities.
“It feels partly like my hometown,” said Phair from her Los Angeles home last week. “I never got over the feeling of the climate. The humidity is perfect. It’s so right to me. Nothing else feels like home the way Cincinnati does in that way. You’ve got the best living environment — the big old houses and the woods are beautiful.”
It’s been five years since Phair released her last album, whitechocolatespaceegg. And Liz Phair was released almost exactly 10 years after her indie hit Exile In Guyville.
Men love her for dirty mouth — which is the same reason women love her. However, men see her as their slutty fantasy, while women see her as their post-feminist icon who’s not afraid to be sexy and confessional.
She’s taken her share of beatings for trying to be more radio-friendly on Liz Phair. But don’t believe the elitists who hate change. Phair is every bit the songwriter on Liz Phair that she was on Guyville. Now age 36, Phair is a mother — and a hot one — as well as a more mature musician.
“The fan response has been bizarre because it’s either love or hate,” she says. “I just got back from Europe, and in the English press, one paper gave me a zero out of 10. It’s retarded. It’s so extreme. I am naturally provocative, even if I’m not meaning to be. I just didn’t expect the heated, venomous spaz-outs.”
At her core, Phair says she is a songwriter who has put out a record with “pleasant sounds, but that’s not what my fan base feels my job is.”
Phair now says the album should have been titled “Backslash”, because of the extremes in the album, in herself and in the reactions to the record. Love/hate. Sane/psycho.
“The live show is my secret weapon,” says Phair. “It all makes sense, and the songs don’t sound so dissimilar from each other. It fills up the room in a cool musical way that you can’t help but like. I’m a songwriter, and that’s what I hear — however you dress it up — it’s still a song to me. They are my songs with my stories in them — I made sure of that.”
Her favorite song to perform these day is “Extraordinary”, the first track on Liz Phair. She loves it because it feels like every part of her that wants to express something gets its turn.
“Come on down to the show,” she says. “I’ve lived there (in Cincinnati); you just didn’t know about it.
“My grandma lives there in a rest home. We’re going to go there and order nice wine and cheese, and she’ll have a great time. She’s the most adorable woman in the world.”