Monday, June 30, 2003

BUT IF YOU DO IT AND YOU'RE STILL UNHAPPY/THEN YOU KNOW THAT THE PROBLEM IS YOU: Yeah, I know I said I'd lay off until I listened to the album, but tomorrow's Village Voice goes three ways with three reviewers on That Album: disappointed Joshua Clover ("I'll always leave the light on for Liz; listen, Neil Young's made about 20 bad records, and we still love him."), Jane Dark's it-looks-like-she-liked-it ("I can't quite tell if "Hot White Cum" is supposed to be for real, or is mocking beauty tips from magazines, but as I have reached the age where ambiguity is even funner than double entendres, that's OK."), and, finally, Dean of All Critics Bob Christgau comes in with the unqualified rave we've all been hoping someone on high would give the album:
So then I played the advance and stopped worrying. Liz Phair may not be her best album, but don't bet on it. For sure it's the one I want to hear right now, next month, all year. It includes no bad songs — at worst a couple of dubious or uninspired ones—and four or five every bit as indelible as "Flower" . . .

I can't explain the technical stuff, but I'd describe the Matrix's sound with Lavigne as "generalized." No matter who produced what (which since I did get all five right must mean something), that's how this album comes across—keybs everywhere, voice big and in tune. Only with Phair, this generalization—while definitely ambitious, tsk tsk — is also an act of love (toward Christina fans and such) and a reaffirmation of the sexual appetites she's indulged since she was exiled in Guyville, a sobriquet she devised to insult the indie world oh so long ago. Five years later, she put in quality time as a matron-artiste; now, single again at 36, she further insults the indie world by successfully fusing the personal and the universal, challenging lowest-common-denominator values even as it fellates them. You want her to express herself? She just did.


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