Liz Phair and “Exile in Guyville”

Although Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville was celebrated as one of 1993’s top records by Spin and the New York times, to some it was an abomination: a mockery of The Rolling Stones’s most revered album, Exile on Main Street, and a rare glimpse into the psyche of a shrewd, independent, strong young woman. For these crimes she was run out of her hometown of Chicago, enduring a flame war perpetrated by writers who accused her of being boring, inauthentic, and even a poor musician.

With Exile in Guyville, Phair spoke for all the young women who loved the world of indie rock but felt deeply unwelcome there. Like all great works of art, Exile was a harbinger of the shape of things to come: Phair may have undermined the male ego, but she also unleashed a new female one.

This according to Exile in Guyville by Gina Arnold (New York: Bloomsbury, 2014).

Today is Liz Phair’s 50th birthday! Above, a screenshot from the official video for Never said, the album’s major airplay hit; below, the full video.

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Filed under Performers, Popular music, Women's studies

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