Wednesday, March 16, 2005

See Below

Apparently, not all right-thinking people are readers of the fine goods herein. Instead of writing the review I had planned, I tended my wife, Mrs. The Critic, who slipped on our back step and sprained her ankle. Truly the Ides of March are not to be fucked with.

At any rate, last night I was going to post a review of the career trajectory of Liz Phair, an outline that truly follows what I call meteoric. A spark in the sky that plummets to earth a scorched rock. As one correspondent wrote, she let all us indie kids down. Now her bubblegum crap is featured on even crappier TV shows and is pumped in muzak at Bed, Bath, & Beyond. For someone who came out of nowhere as an unknown with a scorching, critically heralded double album, is there much lower the woman can sink?

Well, Phair could always begin dating Kid Rock, I suppose, another touchstone on the downward path of suckitude that ends when one of your songs are snippeted out to be featured in a commercial for some such piffery like Doublemint Gum.

She claimed she didn't want to get trapped making "Flower" over and over, then on her latest eponymous effort, dished out "H.W.C." (Hot White Cum, snicker, snicker, sigh) which is nothing more than "Flower" with absolutely no subtext, no subtlety, and no talent. Despite claiming to not want to become a one-dimensional joke, Phair has become a one-dimensional joke churning out an entire album of music I'd be ashamed of if my name were attached in any context, the kind of bright, shiny noise no one remembers in six months. Had this been her first album, next year you'd be buying it in the dollar bin, laughing and saying, "Holy crap, look, it's that one hit wonder chick."

And she had such promise. I don't mean she had to constantly put out music that stayed the same, that focused on the same material, that was as relentlessly, archly cynical as her first album, but when you grow as an artist, it's a good idea to grow in a valid direction. A direction that builds on what you did before and expands it, or that tears down entirely what you did before and rebuilds better. With each album, it's like Phair has edited and edited and edited out what made her so brilliant in the first place.

And so, in an F-word tribute, here's my shortened reviews of Liz Phair's four albums to date.

Exile in Guyville. Rock the fuck on, sister!

Whip-Smart. Fuck, yeah!

whitechocolatespaceegg. What the fuck?

Liz Phair. What-the-fuck-ever.

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