Monday, June 30, 2008

Divorce Song

Song: Divorce Song
Artist: Liz Phair
Album: Exile in Guyville

Since Liz Phair’s “Exile in Guyville” is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary this year (and has been reissued with extra tracks and a DVD) I thought I would spend the short week talking about some of my favorite albums and songs.

“Exile in Guyville” Liz Phair’s debut album which was released in 1993 on Matador Records is one of my top five albums of all time. I discovered Liz in high school, getting her second record “Whipsmart” first, and then “Guyville” following that. I was excited to hear that the album was being reissued, and that it contained three unreleased songs. The b-sides aren’t great, though the reggae-tinged “Hey You” is fun, though unlike anything on the record. I was really interested in seeing the DVD that comes with it, a documentary Liz directed herself with the “guys” of “Guyville,” different producers, scenesters, and Matador execs that made the record happen. The quality isn’t very good, but anyone that loves the album will find it totally captivating.

For those not in the know, Liz Phair’s debut was a super buzzed about record when it came out back in ’93 and made several end of the year best lists. It continues to be recognized as one of the most import records released during the time. While Liz didn’t invent confessional songwriting, “Exile” was no doubt the blueprint for Alanis Morrissette’s similar (though way inferior) “Jagged Little Pill.” (I remember at the time being so pissed that Alanis got all of that attention where Liz remained an indie-rock darling.) It’s a killer rock record, smart, sexy, fragile, and exhilarating. A song-for-song response to the Rolling Stones “Exile on Main Street,” a miraculous double album… and her first!

While it’s hard to just pick one song from this album, I have always liked the story/song “Divirce Song,” which really highlights Liz’s lyrical ability. One of my favorite lines:

“And the license said
You had to stick around until I was dead
But if you’re tired of looking at my face I guess I already am”

How devastating! It’s a really killer song.

If you don’t already own “Exile in Guyville,” the re-issue is a good reason to go pick it up. It seriously is one of the best and most important rock records from the last twenty five years.


Never Said

Fuck and Run (live from 1995)

Divorce Song (live from Tower Records)

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