Liz Phair

Exile In Guyville – 15th Anniversary Reissue | ATO
By MEGAN V. BELL  |  July 8, 2008
4.0 4.0 Stars
In Liz Phair’s self-made (and often coy) documentary accompanying this re-release of Exile in Guyville, she mentions that four years ago she tried listening to what many consider her magnum opus, started sobbing, and turned it off. “I wasn’t happy; I was poor, pissed off, and took advantage of people.” If Phair was so distraught by the album and has moved on to bigger and . . . let’s just call them different things, why re-release it? By the time I got Guyville, it was too late: Phair had already come out with whitechocolatespaceegg, and her æsthetic was on its way to hardening into a shiny marketing gimmick aimed at angsty mall teens. But 15 years later, her sexual candor remains more refreshing than her petulant studio-buffed paeans to milkshakes, stolen boyfriends, self-inflicted starvation, and spray tans. Fluke or not, Guyville still speaks to me in a way that no other artist in my generation has. I’ve cried to some songs, worked out to others, put others on party playlists, sat plaintively in my car to still more. And maybe that’s why Phair can’t handle it now, but also why it’s still important: it’s an unflinching fuck-all look at the highs and lows of being young, of living with lust but hoping for love — an album of torment, turmoil, stupid choices, and futility.
Related: Photos: Liz Phair, Exile in Boston (2008), Onward, Upward, Awkward, The shores of cool, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Liz Phair, Liz Phair
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