Exile In Lizville

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Celebrity culture tends to be pretty hyper, and even more so with a growing crop of young talents constantly vying for the spotlight. Once in a great while, however, a singer, actress or other celebrated person manages to survive through the years.

As this happens they tend to adapt to the changing times, often alienating long-standing fans in the process. That’s exactly what happened between singer Liz Phair and Queerty correspondent Megan Metzger, who admits she once loathed her icon so much that she wanted her off the planet. But, just as some star alienate their base, they too can stage a come back, shining brighter than ever.

After the jump, Metzger traces her rocky relationship with Phair – and how a live show last week rekindled their unspoken – most likely unrequited – romance.

There was a time I wanted Liz Phair dead. See, I have this fantasy reserved for those who forsook their brilliance. What if Liz, Michael Jackson and Nicholas Cage had boarded a helicopter right before their careers jumped the shark, and the pilot lost control in a jagged mountain range and the ‘copter pulls a Patsy Cline? Tragic, yes, but this way, fans aren’t subjected to phoned-in stabs at commercial viability or public disgrace and self-mutilation (not to mention Lisa Marie Presley would only be on her second marriage).

At 15, Liz Phair was my teacher, and her debut album, Exile in Guyville was the textbook from which I learned sex was fucking fun–but usually not without consequence–that bad boys make you crazy insane, and rock’n’roll chicks can bag groupies just as easily as the dudes.

Guyville, released on indie stalwart Matador Records in 1993, is a song-by-song response to the Stones’ double-LP opus Exile on Main St., but Guyville’s sparse scuzz paired with Phair’s overtly sexual, smart and honest lyrics make Guyville a masterpiece in its own right.

After EIG, Phair released a couple of alright albums for Matador, got married, had a baby, got divorced, then mosied on over to Capitol Records. The major label pressured her to make radio-friendly hits, even hooking the artist up with Avril Lavigne’s svengali writing team, the Matrix.

I couldn’t help but be possessed by one question: how in fuck did Chicago’s lo-fi rock goddess of the 90s grow up to become a polished Cougar Lavigne of the new millenium? Many fans, like myself, felt betrayed and wrote her off. But this past Thursday, all was forgiven.

In commemoration of EIG being re-released through her new aural home, A.T.O. Records, Phair’s performing a mini-tour in small clubs like the Hiro Ballroom at the Manhattan Maritime Hotel in Chelsea. Wednesday’s show sold out in under five minutes, and Thursday’s within 30 of it being announced. Apparently I wasn’t the only one excited at another shot of love.