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Liz Phair - Crater Lake

Crater Lake by Liz Phair on Grooveshark

Liz Phair - Alice Springs

Alice Springs by Liz Phair on Grooveshark

Reason for the twofer and some additional thoughts on Liz below the fold.

These are songs 12 and 13 from Whip-Smart. They're both short - under 4 minutes combined - and I always thought they were paired well. They have good contrast, and I never listen to the first without listening to the second. (Cf. Ventilator Blues and I Just Want To See His Face from Exile on Main Street.) Alice Springs has one of my favorite lyrics from her too: "Some pot of gold, it's just a carpeting store on opening day."

Liz Phair's relative obscurity is one of the great rock music injustices of the last generation. Exile In Guyville, her debut, is now considered a classic, but for a long time it was (at best) a cult classic. I remember hearing Never Said on the radio a few times and liking it, borrowing the CD from a friend and being completely blown away. There wasn't a lot of that going on though. The tastemakers didn't see fit to announce it with any fanfare, and I don't recall it being on any of that year's Best Of lists. Word of it just seemed to seep out over time, each year it was held in a little higher esteem, and after a decade or so it came to be regarded as great. Which is nice, but isn't the kind of thing that catpults an artist to stardom. (I wonder if Liz ever thinks, where were all you fuckers when the damn thing sank without a trace in 1993?)

She followed up with Whip-Smart, another great album - no sophomore slump for her - then followed that up with Whitechocolatespaceegg, one of the top five albums of the 90s. In the 2000s she released her self titled album, which pissed off the people who were somehow unaware that she's always had a superb pop sensibility, and Somebody's Miracle. Both of those have some dead space, but neither is that far off her 90's work.

So all she's done is release tons of good music, including some phenomenal stand-alone singles. Each album has had at least a few radio-ready tunes. Yet nothing ever caught fire - she's always been on the margins.

Sometimes the music gods are not fair.

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