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Liz Phair | Whitechocolatespaceegg (Matador)
She's back, the original and still the best angry woman of rock. Married and a mother, time has tamed her, there are no explicit songs and only three songs with swearing. So has she sold out? No, even if she sings 'it's nice to be liked, but its better by far to get paid'. She's shown everyone how to do that stuff, so why just re-hash her previous albums. Subtlety is now the key. No songs about sex? Listen to Headache on headphones and say that, those breathy backing vocals and mumbled lyrics, she can teach these youngsters a thing or two. No hard hitting songs? What about Polyester Bride. It may sound trite, but listen closely. A girl wonders if she should 'bother dating unfamous men' and wants to avoid 'those kind of men', so she seeks advice from a barman, who gives her free drinks because he likes her eyes. He tells her 'you're lucky to even know me' before delivering homespun mottos that she takes to heart as if it were the most profound wisdom ever. Ironic, dontcha think? Elsewhere she swaps musical styles with ease, pop, blues even a country feel, yet all sung with a brutal frankness that sets her apart from the rest. She still takes no prisoners, claiming 'all those other bastards were only practise' after meeting Mr. Right and 'I've got seven other men in the ditches behind me'. You can take her home, but she'll never be your girl. Indeed, she even contemplates lying to a guy 'to make the day blur into the night'. Sweet!?! No Thank You, WCSE is anything but that, but it still gives you a huge rush. Older and wiser she is, so listen and learn.

Laurence Arnold
CWAS #4 - Winter 1998/9 - The Lost Issue