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Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday Nite Retro

Welcome once more to your favorite Friday night diversion - Friday Nite Retro here at Left in Aboite! (Editor's note: The preceding statement may not necessarily be true, particularly if you actually have a life.)Tonight I'm featuring my favorite "dirty girl" of the 90's, Liz Phair, so consider yourself warned regarding the explicit lyrics. Parson, TRY to remain awake throughout the entire performance, okay? ;)

Elizabeth Clark Phair was born April 17, 1967 in New Haven, Connecticut. Unlike another famous "nutmegger", Connecticut is actually proud to claim her! Liz was an adopted child, like myself, and was raised here in the heartland in Winnetka, Illinois. She moved to California before returning to the Chicago area where she began writing songs and recording homemade tapes under the name Girly Sound, and supported herself by selling her drawings on the streets of Chicago. She became part of the alternative music scene in Chicago and became friends with Material Issue and Urge Overkill, two of Chicago's upstart bands that went national in the early 1990s.

Phair was signed to the indie label, Matador Records, in 1992. Matador bigwig Gerard Cosloy read a review of Girly Sound in Chemical Imbalance and told Phair to send him a tape. Phair sent him a tape of six Girly Sound songs. Cosloy recalls: "The songs were amazing. It was a fairly primitive recording, especially compared to the resulting album. The songs were really smart, really funny, and really harrowing, sometimes all at the same time." "I liked it a lot and played it for everybody else. We usually don't sign people we haven't met, or heard other records by, or seen as performers. But I had a hunch, and I called her back and said O.K.".

Cosloy offered a $3,000 advance, and Phair began working on a single, which turned into the 18 songs of Exile in Guyville. The album received uniformly excellent reviews, and significant critical acclaim for its blunt, honest lyrics and for the music itself, a hybrid of indie rock and pop. The album established Phair's penchant for exploring sexually explicit lyrics such as in the song " Flower": "I want to be your blow job queen/...I'll fuck you and your minions too." By contrast, her trademark low, vibrato-less voice gave many of her songs a slightly detached, almost deadpan character. The combination of these factors won Phair many dedicated fans.


And, of course, this fine addition from that same album:

"Fuck and Run"

Hoping to capitalize on the acclaim for her debut album, the release of Phair's second album received substantial media attention and an advertising blitz. Whip-Smart debuted at #27 in 1994 and "Supernova", the first single, became a Top Ten modern rock hit, with the video was frequently featured on MTV. The album received mixed reviews, and although it was certified Gold, it ultimately didn't sell as well as expected; the hope was that this album would introduce Liz Phair to the mainstream scene.


"Whip Smart"

Phair's third album, whitechocolatespaceegg, was released in 1998 after some delays caused by disagreements about content. At first, the label rejected the album as submitted, and asked Phair to write a few additional radio-friendly songs for the set. The album displayed a more mature Phair, and reflected some of the ways marriage and motherhood affected her. The single "Polyester Bride" received some airplay, but the album climbed no higher than her previous efforts.

"Polyester Bride"

2003's self-titled "Liz Phair" represented her first Capital Records album, and marked a departure from her indie roots. Indeed, many fans considered the album a "sell out", but it garnered commercial attention and seemed to propel Phair out of the "alternative-chick" category and closer to the pop charts. The debut single "Why Can't I?" hit the Top 40 charts in North America, and its follow-up, "Extraordinary," was also somewhat successful; it appeared on the soundtrack to the 2004 movie Raising Helen and was the promotional theme for the 2004 Women's NCAA Basketball Tournament. Additionally, in March 2007, the song began appearing in Gatorade television advertisements.

"Why Can't I?"


Phair continued to flirt with sexually explicit themes, however, as was most evident in a track called "H.W.C.", standing for "Hot White Cum".


And that's a wrap on yet another FNR. . .go take a cold shower, and then visit Liz's official website: Liz Phair.


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Blogger Chuck said...

I'll have to admit that I've only heard the name, is all.

title="comment permalink">July 06, 2007 11:40 PM  
Blogger PTCruiser said...

Ahh...Liz Phair. John, you really outdid yourself this week. I must admit I had lost interest in FNR over the past few weeks. But this...this...

HOT, John. HAWT !!! Thank you for the arousing trip down memory lane.

title="comment permalink">July 07, 2007 1:47 AM  

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