Sunday, June 28, 2009

You can come back Lizzie, indie rock never forgets

Liz Phair is to indie rock fans as Anakin is to Obi Wan at the end of Revenge of the Sith. As she turns to the dark side, we weep and cry out "You were the Chosen One!" Then we see her dispatched in the fiery lava of critical lambast. It is my hope that we may now be approaching the scene where she turns back to the Light and tells us "You were right, tell the fans, you were right."

You may have caught last year's re-release of Exile In Guyville, her epochal debut release. Last year she played a few shows during which she played only songs from Exile (I should have caught one of these. Oh well, I get to see the Pogues with Shane this year). She is now apparently working on a new solo record, which is supposed to be a return to the early sounds. The video below gives me some hope as she mocks her lost decade and her sex kitten reputation.

It's hard to overstate how much I loved this record when it came out. She brings so much emotional power to her lyrical short stories that I listened again and again. Haters will argue that the only reason indie guys like her is that she is A) hot and B) frequently given to dirty, dirty talk. Both of these things are true, and are in fact, awesome. This is certainly an element in her success, but without it we would like only slightly, only slightly less than we used to.

Still, the sex element can't be dismissed. You can point to her covering the classic ode to masturbation Turning Japanese, or lyrics as blue as "I want to fuck you like a dog, Ill take you home and make you like it." I still maintain it is the truth in songs like Divorce Song that makes her the special artist she can be.

So I await the new album with measured excitement. It could be something quite good, if she really is going back to the roots. Yes, she is working with Banana Republic, but indie gods Sonic Youth put out a hits ALBUM with Starbucks. So I am willing to cut her some slack there. Won't you?

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