Sometimes it’s tough being a Liz Phair fan. I’m one of those who normally believe she can do no wrong despite all of her career missteps—the self-titled pop-rock album from 2003 the one most universally acknowledged as a confusing mess. I even hung out with her for a few hours a couple of years ago in her own stomping grounds of Wicker Park in Chicago where she wrote and recorded her seminal album, Exile in Guyville. When she self-released her most recent album, Funstyle, I, like many others, was confused at the decision to infuse a couple of her songs with some weird M.I.A.-lite rapping. But still, I kept on listening, because the woman certainly writes lyrics that speak to me in a deeply personal way. Which is, of course, why I’m a little bummed that the site that got the exclusive premiere of her new video was Perez Hilton, the bilious gossip website that so often attacks famous women for their professional (and personal) choices.
Let’s just agree that I’m not linking to the site (while I usually am generous with my links here, I refuse to contribute to his page views). You can take a look at the video below. It’s for the song "And He Slayed Her" from Funstyle (which, if you’re keeping up, was released nearly two years ago). Phair looks great, per usual, and the song harkens back to her older indie sensibility and incorporates that made Liz Phair Liz Phair: the slightly out-of-tune singing, the imperfect guitar playing, the choppy production. It’s also a call-out to a famous man who has spurned her (just like in her Guyville days), this time Columbia Records executive Andy Slater ("And He Slayed Her," get it?), who dumped Phair from the label after the lukewarm response to 2005’s Somebody’s Miracle. It’s still a great tune and indicative of the personal and, let’s face it, cleverly idiosyncratic songwriting that Phair’s known for. One wishes (well, hell, I wish) she had chosen a better route to publicize it!
Update: Liz Phair reached out to me via Twitter. She writes, "Andy Slater didn’t ‘dump’ me from Capitol, I had to fight tooth and nail to get off. He actually prevented me from leaving and I had to wait till he got fired. My anger about being ‘retained’ is what song is all about." Noted and appreciated! Here’s a good example of people mostly missing the mark with it comes to Liz Phair’s career (even, regretably, some of her biggest fans).