Liz Phair Looks Back

Vulture recently published an absolutely fascinating interview with Liz Phair, who has just released a new memoir, Horror Stories. I especially like how she deconstructs the criticism (both positive and negative1) around her work, and how the reception to her work and her persona has been informed by sexism and people’s outsized expectations of her as an artist:

The anomaly was Guyville! My manager said, “I want to know why you change styles so much.” True me is me and a guitar. Anything else you put on it is an outfit, whether it’s an indie-rock outfit, a mainstream outfit, a plug-in outfit, a co-write outfit … Maybe I’m a little bit too adventurous for my own branding good. But that’s what you fucking pay us for! This is what kills me. You pay us because we create realities for you. We create visions. And no one ever claps for that. They want it to be confessional, like it just dropped out of my ass. I should be paid for my ability to create what doesn’t exist — that’s what I’m really good at.

  1. The interview prompted a Twitter thread by Matt LeMay, who wrote an infamous Pitchfork 0.0 review for the album “Liz Phair” in 2003. He touches on how things have changed in the indie-vs-pop spectrum, but stops short of directly apologizing for the sexism underpinning his original review.