Monday, May 28, 2007

Liz Phair - She's Got You, Babe

What is it about Liz Phair that sounds so right?

The shortage of good new albums has forced me to dig out my old Liz Phair albums. Due too the fact that the Maroon 5 album is so vacuous (who really wants to listen to 12 songs of Adam Levine bitching about his split with his girlfriend), I remember hearing various intelligent pop songs on Phair's 2005 album 'Somebody's Miracle' that seemed to be about break-ups, but the songwriting was so much more personal and real. It had substance and wasn't devoid of any meaning. Every song on the album seemed important.

I've never figured out why Liz Phair has not been more successful as a female singer/songwriter and rock'n'roller. Her early albums were cool, but as she progressed, she became rockier but her lyrics were always snappy and direct. She's difficult to ignore.

It's also a statement on the current state of female rock musicians. It seems to be a man's world out there. What happened to Joan Jett and the Blackhearts? Were the Runaways a joke? Was Suzi Quatro just an illusion? Why is there no Heart reunion?

My point is that it's empowering to have really good female rock musicians doing their thing. Of course, you do get the commercial extreme of things that seem to be a bad dream (like the recent Avril Lavigne single 'Girlfriend'), but when you get a serious contender like Phair, who not only has the ability to write a pop savvy lyric with a political and social bent, you have to keep her at the top of the pile.

The major lablels would rather concentrate their humble efforts on plastic role models like Gwen Stefani, instead of nurturing real authentic talent. It's all style over content. Somebody shoot the stylist.

I not only commend Liz Phair for all the great albums she's released over the years, but like a fine wine, she continues to excel with every new album. Why am I looking back to her 2005 studio album for inspiration?

The difference between a lyricist like Liz Phair and a pop frontman like Adam Levine is like night an day. It's like Liz is Cher and Adam is Sonny Bono. The big difference is that Liz Phair definitely still has the 'I've Got You Babe' good seal of approval stamped across her forehead.

Check out the lyrics to the opening track, 'Leap of Innocence' on Phair's 'Somebody's Miracle' album (I rest my case) -

"I saw John. He looked so sad. I want you to know that I feel bad. For not making our dreams come true. We had so many dreams me and you. I want you to know. I love you. You're my favourite thing from the past. And all of those nights that we spent together. I never had such a blast. Anyone could tell. You were my instrument. He said "I understand you. You want to play me." Everything about us had an innocence. But everything around us was changing. It's hard to believe. So much happened so fast. Remember the way we'd always laugh. While thinking up things to do. We were kings of the world me and you. I wish it had stayed like that forever. But everyone was dropping off like flies. I had so many friends in rehab. A couple who practically died."

Check out this interview Liz did for the release of the 'Somebody's Miracle' album.

In the meantime, here's a blast from the past...

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