Liz Phair - Liz Phair
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Mixed or average reviews - based on 21 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 92 Ratings

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  • Summary: The far-from-prolific singer-songwriter's fourth album finds a 36-year-old Liz Phair trying to be... Avril Lavigne? Yes, her sound has changed quite a bit since her acclaimed 1993 debut 'Exile in Guyville,' taking on a glossy pop sheen on this release, thanks to production by the Matrix (as well as Michael Penn and Pete Yorn, we might add--but the Matrix????). Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 21
  2. Negative: 11 out of 21
  1. An honestly fun summer disc. [Jun 27/Jul 4 2003, p.136]
  2. 80
    Beneath the highlights, she's still a messy troublemaker whose brain is as spicy as the rest of her body. [#17, p.146]
  3. 67
    Boilerplate MOR.... But what Liz Phair delivers is authenticity. [Jul 2003, p.107]
  4. Embarrassing. [Dec 2003, p.134]
  5. Upon hearing the endless barrage of banalities on Liz Phair, it's hard not to feel scorned by the trite and shrill pop songwriting. [#5, p.106]
  6. Where she used to be smart and provocative, Phair has become crass and bloated, her lyrics crude and her image apparently a grotesque exercise in self-parody.
  7. Liz Phair proves so ultimately unnecessary, it might as well not even exist.

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 71
  2. Negative: 18 out of 71
  1. JillK
    Oct 11, 2003
    I loved this CD it rocked I love the song "why cant I" and every girl knows when she thinks about that special someone, she takes a breath and holds it in just wishing and hoping that their guy was there with them... Expand
  2. tim
    Feb 3, 2007
    I had a lot of respect for critics before this album came out. This is what completely changed my opinion. How dare you compare her to Avril Lavign. This is far from that. Get over yourselves. Lofi is dead and it wasn't really that great to begin with. In fact Exile is possibly the most overrated record of all time. Stop living in the past. So what if her sound is glammed up. When Courtney Love and Polly Harvey did it they got universal acclaim. But everything has to be compared to Exile for Liz. This isn't 1993! At least she didn't cop out by add 80s keyboards like everyone and their dog. Get Spaceegg and this record. This critics could kiss my big brown ass. Go back to your Battlestar Galactica and get the hell out of music cuz you have no idea what you're writing about. Expand
  3. TAE
    Dec 6, 2010
    MEAT you truly are a meathead. No it's no OK Computer but don't call someone a moron and that go off and try to make Pavement look like they're so groundbreaking and influencial. All there are is Sonic Youth with Ben Stein as the lead singer instead of Thurston or Kim. Liz will never be anything like Pavement and thank God for that. Liz has actual passion and emotion which is something Pavement no NOTHING about. SELLING OUT to Pavement would be if they actually sang instead of sounding like they're going into a coma. Liz was starting to sound that way in Guyville: "Baby I'm Tired!!!!!!!!!!!!!....of fighting." Yeah I'm starting to like Guyville a bit more than I used to but like all her albums minus spaceegg it is flawed. It's not teeny booper and thank God it's not lo-fi. She's making money. Lo Fi is for bands who are struggling. When you make money you use it to produce higher quality albums and as long as it's good who cares if it's pop. PJ Harvey was one of the most acclaimed and respected artists of the last 15 years. Her music is still great but she doesn't have the following she used to. It's hard being a female musican to keep the "fans" interested in you after all these years and even critics will ignore you no matter how good an album you make ("White Chalk") and Liz here, even if you consider her to be at her worst, made an album better than anything Pavement will ever put out. Expand
  4. Delysid
    Mar 1, 2006
    Rico A. hit the nail on the head when he wrote "Maybe people are feeling betrayed because she's not fitting into their pigeonholed view of her as ass-kicker?" Liz has been both hugely helped and hurt by prevailing trends and her relation to the zeitgeist of two eras. With her debut in 1993-4, she perfectly fit into the low-fi aesthetic and riot-grrl revaluation of women in rock at the time, not to mention exciting hormone-soaked fanboy critics of the day with the frank sexuality of some of her lyrics. Plus it wasn't just her debut album that generated the buzz, it was also the tapes she made in her bedroom on a 4-track mixer, eagerly traded among music cognoscenti, that put her indie cred rating into the stratosphere. That's the Liz the critics loved and have never forgiven her for not remaining -- barefoot and in the bedroom churning out clever 4-track gems for all time. But Liz is ambitious and her 2nd album, Whipsmart, was an all-out well-produced (by indie standards of the day) rocker -- and the critics hated it! They dumped all over what in my opinion is her best album, and she's laboured under their derision ever since. Cut forward to 2003 and the now 36-year-old Liz, as charmingly slutty, and ambitious, as ever, makes a stab at more popular success with the self-titled album this review is about. But the poppy sheen doesn't make it any less distinctively a Liz Phair album, and the song writing and lyrics are as sharp as ever, along with her very effective guitar technique and unique, one-of-a-kind voice that fans like me love. Now the fanboy critics, ten years older and more cynical, slot Liz into a different stereotype of a sexually forward woman -- the cougar/milf, no longer the object of erotic veneration that the sexy indie rocker chick was, but instead a target of derision and scorn, and still after ten years not forgiven for leaving the 4-track in the bedroom behind. "Liz Phair" (this album) is full of gems -- "My Bionic Eyes", "Red Light Fever", and the poignant "Little Digger" are among the finest tunes of Liz's whole career, as is "H.W.C." (Hot White Cum), a song most critics mistook for a failed dirty joke, failing to see that while it is witty it's not lewd but rather a heart-felt, bright, sunny, sex-positive love song, waxing poetic about a physical property of her lover other than the usual ruby lips or sparkling eyes -- and it's a great tune besides. In fact, over all a great album from one of the finest, and least understood, female rock musicians of all time. Expand
  5. PeteR
    Jun 26, 2003
    While she's definately trying to go mainstream with this one, it's not THAT bad. Still not used to the Matrix produced tracks - I think Michael Penn's production suits her better. Expand
  6. JustinN
    Jul 5, 2009
    Ok i'll admit...pop fans should like it. It has catchy songs. But Liz Phair used to have depth and she used to be interesting. Now she sounds like Avril Lavigne. She also doesn't have the chops to sing these kind of songs. Okay, i'm an indie kid but I have no problem with her becoming commercial. I just wish she would've brought her personality to the charts. Oh and not worked with the matrix. Expand
  7. ChristineR
    Jun 15, 2003
    What a superficial album! The music and vocals are so glossy and overproduced, they're lifeless. The lyrics are lame and predictable. These are the kind of songs you'd expect from a 16 yr old who's just starting out, not an almost 40 yr old who should be able to write with more intelligence and maturity. Liz obviously wants to appeal to the teenyboppers who love Avril. Which means dumbing everything down and making the songs as bland and accessible to the masses as possible. Shame on you Liz. Expand

See all 71 User Reviews