Thursday, May 29th, 2003
"It's nice to be liked, but it's better by far to get paid"
The Liz Phair backlash is in full swing. What began as some mumblings when her new record was constantly being reworked and pushed back, and turned into a steady low-range grumbling when it was revealed she was working with Avril Lavigne hit-machine The Matrix has finally become a full-bore torrent of vitriol, incited by her latest round of interviews promoting her new self-titled album, out on June 24. She’s basically disavowed the Chicago indie scene that made Exile In Guyville such a success and is making a full-out reach for the commercial success brass ring, in the mode of Sheryl Crow or, well, Avril Lavigne. Only problem, Liz dear, is that:
a) you’re old. Not that old, sure, but certainly not teen idol material. You’re still a damned attractive woman, but dressing like you’re a teenager ain’t fooling anyone.
b) You can’t sing. I mean, you can sing in your own particular style, but if you think that’s going to crossover to a market that’s conditioned to accept only digitally pitch-perfect, warbling songbirds, uh, no. Unless of course you had that Studio Magic knob on the mixing board turned up to full.
c) You’re a songwriter first and foremost. It’s the strength of your lyrics and wordplay that got everyone’s attention in the first place. You think folks on Top 40 radio will listen to your lyrics? Nuh-uh.
d) Alienating the very fanbase that put you in the position to take this running leap? Not smart. Who’s going to catch you when you fall?
This article sums things up pretty well. Good luck Liz, but my money is on this being one of the most ill-conceived career moves the world has ever seen, and the ensuing train wreck will be a cautionary tale for generations to come. I can only hope that the inevitable next ‘bitter against the world’ record will kickstart your creative process some. Getting screwed over worked wonders for Aimee Mann.
np – Low / Things We Lost In The Fire