Liz Phair
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Mick Jagger once said “American girls want everything in the world.” The Mick did not account for Liz Phair. All she wanted to do was give a big middle finger to The Rolling Stones and their brand of womanizing rock.

Phair’s debut album “Exile in Guyville” stormed critics top ten lists in 1993 as never had a woman been so raw and sexual yet delicate at the same time. Phair wrote the album as a response to the Stones’ classic “Exile on Main Street.” Her goal was to kick gender stereotypes where it hurts, and she was wearing steel toed boots.

Stones
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Jagger and Richards wrote about girls that Liz Phair would hate. Phair doesn’t take orders.  She writes bluesy guitar riffs.  She drops f-bombs like skittles and talks about sex. What will society do with her? Since “Exile in Guyville” has made mutliple “best albums of all time” lists, clearly she has a spot.

On “Soapstar Joe” Phair goes after male culture itself. She muses on a one night stand:

Check out the thinning hair

Check out the aftershave

Check out America

You’re looking at it, babe

In the tradition of being fair and balanced, Phair takes more than a few looks in the mirror. On the particularly unsubtle track “Divorce Song” she says “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.”

No one ever confused Liz Phair for Celine Dion, she does not paint a particularly rosy picture. But they say to write what you know and Phair clearly knows a thing or two about the dark side of male culture. Think of “Exile in Guyville” as female centric therapy, and Phair is playing the anti-Dr. Phil.

Liz Phair
image source: i.realone.com

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