Phair Trade

The critical response to the new Liz Phair album is senseless, sexist and stupid

Of course, these songs are no more likely to please the vast majority of the world than classic Exile moments such as "Flower" or "Fuck and Run," and with better reason, because, between the production and the subject matter, the whole project is slightly off-kilter. True, Liz Phair's first single, the Matrix-produced "Why Can't I," is as unstoppably catchy as, yes, one of Avril Lavigne's horrid offerings, but wouldn't you rather hear someone with authentic musical context and actual songwriting talent sing a song like that than an eighteen-year-old phony punk rocker?

Sure, there are slightly embarrassing moments on Liz Phair. That's life, is it not? It's a brave thing to sing a song like "Little Digger," in which she talks about the awkwardness of having a guy spend the night when you have a kid around. "I've done the damage, the damage is done/I pray that I'm the damaged one," she sings, and then, heartbreakingly, she adds, "You keep repeating the line, 'My mother is mine.'" Perhaps you can't relate to Liz's new concerns until you, too, have heard that poignant mantra, but does that mean her concerns aren't relevant?

If that's the case -- that the life experiences of women in their 30s (and 40s and 50s and so on) have no place in pop music -- then maybe women should withdraw their expertise, their interest and even their ears from the entire genre. And if it's not the case (certainly, one would hope it's not), it doesn't make sense that Liz Phair, of all records, should be getting such a bitch-slapping. The controversy surrounding it only goes to show what's sadly lacking in the music industry, in music criticism and maybe even in humanity itself.

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