SOUNDTRACK: LIZ PHAIR-Exile in Guyville Live October 6, 2008 (2008).
Like all indie rock hipsters I loved Exile in Guyville when it came out. And like all indie rock hipsters, I hated that Liz Phair later made an album that is had the top cover below. I didn’t even care anymore when she made the album with the second cover below.
The irony of course is that Liz made Guyville because she was sick of the hipster boys who were living in Chicago at the time. And now it was the same hipster boys (only older) who were dismissing her for selling out. (At least, that’s what I get from the interview that’s attached to the end of the concert and this separate interview from around the same time).
But regardless of my hipster cred (and subsequent loss of same) I really didn’t like Liz’s new pop style (but good for her for still being hot, right?). In fact, I hadn’t even really listened to her since 2000 anyhow so when she came out with her pop albums I just kind of shrugged.
So, what’s up with this return to Guyville? Well, the interviews mention her needing some closure on the rough time in her life when she made the record. And also feeling that since could actually play her guitar now, it was worth giving fans (and herself) the experience of actually enjoying playing the album live. So, good vibes and happy feelings all around (and sex and sex and more sex).
The concert is the entire Guyville album, played start to finish, with occasional banter in between. And she is quite faithful to the original (she even has a special guest sing the “Every time I see your face, I get all wet between my legs” line on “Flower.” The main flaw with the concert is that the bassist hits a number of flat notes and also on at least two songs is either out of tune or just mixed too loud or something.
The other flaw is directly related to Liz saying how much better she is at performing. Because as the set opens, her voice sounds really off on the first couple of songs. In the interview, she says that she still feels uncomfortable on stage until about the fourth song. And maybe that’s what’s happening on 6′ 1″ or, quite possibly, she can’t hit those notes anymore (her voice is considerably higher on her newer songs and 6′ 1″ is a low register, almost flat singing style and she just doesn’t seem comfortable doing it). Indeed, by the fourth or fifth song, she seems more comfortable and seems to be having more fun and the set moves pretty smoothly from there.
She has a good rapport with the audience. Humility was never her strong suit, and it shows, which makes me her a little less likable, but she still has good banter.
When the album is over she comes back for a brief encore. She plays two songs solo (which are okay). And then the band comes back for two of her other hits: “Supernova” and “Polyester Bride” which both sound fantastic.
Listening to Exile in Guyville again was great, the songs hold up really well. I’ll have to pull her old CDs out and listen to the originals again (the concert is mixed a little low, but–good on NPR–all of the bad words are left in!). The NPR page also said that Guyville had gone out of print until it was reissued recently. Is it really possible that Matador let it go out of print?
[READ: April 22, 2011] Five Dials Number 4
The conceit behind this issue is “Eleven writers tell us Exactly What Happened …Days Before It Happened.” And the authors tell us in past tense what happened on the fateful night of the election between Obama nad McCain. (even though they are written some time before it has happened).
This issue is short again (all of 14 pages), but with such a tidy topic, the fourteen pages are packed with information. There are eleven authors who write about the election. Most are just a couple of paragraphs, so I’m not going to try to summarize them. I’m going to say their predictions for what happened and (in one case) the uncanny accuracy.
CRAIG TAYLOR-A Letter from the Editor “On Elections and Chomsky”
He lays out what the point of this speculation fiction is: “We’ve become tired of the uncertainty and of the waiting. It’s time someone told us exactly how this election ends.” And also, Chomsky is almost 80, and he’s still vibrant. (more…)
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