Liz Phair's Extraordinary Tunes
by Dan Weiss | June 24, 2013
Liz Phair isn't just the creator of one incredible album (her first, Exile in Guyville, which turned 20 last week), and she's certainly not a troll for making at least one or two records of "teen-pop" (the first of which, Liz Phair, contains her sole hit "Why Can't I?" and turns 10 this week). And she's not just "your average everyday sane psycho supergoddess" as she insists in the crunchy Alanis homage "Extraordinary." She's one of the greatest rock and roll songwriters of all time, having mastered indie lo-fi early on that lauded debut and gone on to pastures both more sophisticated ("Uncle Alvarez" is a brilliant character sketch about how the black sheep's the most fun family member to listen to stories by) as well as baser fantasies (Rock Me" is a middle-aged mom's Penthouse Letter about banging a college guy and playing with his Xbox).
Her lyrical highlights span her entire career: "Flower," "Polyester Bride," "F*ck and Run," "Little Digger," "Dance of the Seven Veils," "Shitloads of Money." And her melodies, always odd, striking and gorgeous at once, have never stopped. Just listen to the aching ballad "Table for One," from 2005's not-beloved Somebody's Miracle, or the sidelong "Perfect World" from 1998's evenhanded whitechocolatespaceegg for proof that getting off the train before her major-label years is a mistake for any listener. Here's a chunk of her greatest tracks.