Acclaimed Albums – Exile in Guyville by Liz Phair

So, over Christmas 2020 the COVID-19 entered my household. These posts are those that had to be written up later because being at the computer for more than 15 minutes made me feel beyond tired. I can cook, but I can’t type – it’s very strange. Still, these posts were done well after the fact so apologies in advance.

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 243/250Title: Exile in Guyville
Artist: Liz Phair
Year: 1993
Position: #200

Here it is, the penultimate album on this cut of the acclaimed music list that is helmed by a woman and the final where she is a solo artist. I have been saving this for so long because I had managed to blitz my way through the – admittedly too few – albums that featured a woman as the lead. This has always been around the bottom of the 250, so I left it until near the end. Then Exile in Guyville got a bit of a boost in the recent update after it featured highly on the last Rolling Stone list for the best albums ever.

In the early 1990s, there were a lot of female soloists rising to prominence – like Bjork, PJ Harvey, Tori Amos before this album and then Sheryl Crow and Alanis Morissette coming afterwards. I mention the other five as it feels like whilst they have been able to stay around in one form or another whereas Liz Phair, to me at least, has been frozen in time with this debut release.

This is the kind of album that really should hit home for me. Admittedly, it hit harder on the third listen than it did on the initial one. I guess, for me, I don’t always respond immediately to this sort of lo-fi confessional music – even though there are times where it truly rocks. Being more stripped away, there are less things for me to hang onto and I am a creature that does tend to enjoy a bigger production.

The lyrics are something that I would want to dive more into as the snippets I got hold of were very raw and confessional. This one of those albums that will have laid the groundwork for many artists, probably including the likes of Alanis Morissette, to follow – with Liz Phair never being able to hit the heights of her debut. Not an unusual story, but sad considering just how she was able to capture the critical world’s attention with this debut work.


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