Liz Phair Names Producer for Fourth Album
Catherine Lewis and Ryan Schreiber report:
Singer/schlong-rider Liz Phair has all the wrong connections. Apparently eager
to record the single worst album of her career, she's enlisted Sean-brother
Michael Penn to produce several songs for her upcoming fourth album. While
she was at it, she also decided to co-write some material with Gary Clark of
the band Danny Wilson, who has recently worked with such leading ladies of
artistic vision as Natalie Imbruglia and Vitamin C. And, being on a roll, she
figured she might as well also bring aboard Pete Yorn, the man currently filling
the pop culture void left by Shawn Mullins' slip into obscurity.
To further clarify the abysmal state of goings-on at these sessions, Penn is
known for his work with the Wallflowers and his wife Aimee Mann, while Yorn has
focused more on TV and movie soundtracks like Dawson's Creek and Me,
Myself, and Irene. The stink of failure is rife, people!
Phair recently performed three songs at the Breathe breast cancer benefit in Los
Angeles with Third Eye Blind-- although those in attendance were not treated to
any of her new material. Fans have been waiting for a new album from Phair since
her 1998 album Whitechocolatespaceegg, which was, in turn, a long wait
from Whip-Smart, the 1994 follow-up to her brilliant debut album, Exile
in Guyville. But the slope has been a slippery one as we've watched her
turn from a fearless sexual renegade with a Ph.D in Stones swagger and Flying
Nun-style pop sensibilities to an adult-oriented crossover queen mindful of her
P's and Q's. Capitol Records has not yet announced a release date for Phair's
new piece, which once sported the classy working title of An Evening with Liz
Phair. All we can do is sit back and hope that when it arrives, it sounds a
little better than Paula Cole.
.: Liz Phair: http://www.hollywoodandvine.com/lizphair
.: Originally published: 13 November 2001
.: Items mentioned above on Amazon.com:
Exile in Guyville (Liz Phair, 1993);
Whip-Smart (Liz Phair, 1994);
Whitechocolatespaceegg (Liz Phair, 1998).
Reader Mail response from: Joshua Levy
Subject: Liz Phair
Catherine and Ryan,
What the fuck has crawled up your asses? The crazy thing is, I'm just a casual fan of Liz Phair, but for some reason I feel inclined to defend her against the uber-elitist garbage you pass off as legitimate music reportage. Although I'm not cool enough to be writing you this letter, I find it my duty to stick up for Ms. Phair, who has produced a string of three fine albums (although the last one apparently wasn't indie enough for your website's endorsement). What happened to judging something on it's artistic merit, rather than it's score on the lo-fi-o-meter? I sometimes respect your music reviews, and for some reason find myself returning to them daily, yet today your obscurity-loving sheen burned a hole in me. You dissed Liz Phair's new project because the folks working on it are not hip enough; they haven't had the distinction of operating within the bounds of indendent rock (or so I can surmise; you never really say why these people suck so much. I think the article was yet another way to impress yourselves with your own writing). Michael Penn doesn't write is own 'zine, and Aimee Mann might not be a riot grrrl, but they have legions of fans who are not the top-40 folks you purport to hate so much (as if, in the end, it really matters how independent your musical tastes are) who just might also have a penchant for indie rock. These fans are, I think, more enlightened than you are. If indie rock journalism is to judged along such lines, than you folks are about as enlightened as a potato.
Pitchfork Review: Liz Phair: whitechocolatespaceegg