Video: Liz Phair – “The Game”
Directed by Angela Kohler. From Soberish, out now.
Liz Phair is back with a new Brad Wood-produced album that’s she’s been calling her “first proper, thought-through, totally crafted album since Whitechocolatespaceegg.” That sounds like a load of horseshit to me.
She’s dismissing Liz Phair (2003), Somebody’s Miracle (2005), and Funstyle (2010). Of those three, Somebody’s Miracle is the least interesting but it was mostly recorded at the Village Recorder with producer John Alagia; to say it wasn’t “thought-through” or “totally crafted” is revisionist baloney.
Not to mention that Whitechocolatespaceegg was recorded in five different studios with three different producers. And Brad Wood only produced five of the album’s 16 songs. But whatever. The narrative is that Soberish is a return to form and maybe it is. It sounds good and that’s what really matters.
“The Game” doesn’t sound like anything on Exile in Guyville or Whip-Smart but, like a lot of the material on Soberish, it shares some DNA with Whitechocolatespaceegg. “Polyester Bride” specifically.
If you’re hoping for a sonic sequel to Exile and Whip-Smart, you’re going to be disappointed in Soberish. “Sheridan Road” is stripped down and emotionally raw, the title track features Wood’s classic dry, natural drum crack, and there are a couple of songs that feature Casey Rice on guitar, but overall it’s got its own identity. Phair’s unique song structures are set against lots of programmed beats and pretty guitars. It sounds more grown up. More thought-through and crafted.
But as we can see in the video for “The Game,” even almost 30 years after she stepped into the Rainbo photobooth for the cover of Exile, Liz Phair is still rebellious enough to slip the slightest hint of an areola into the shot. And why not? Don’t be a prude.