Sammy the Seal

“It’s better to be friends than lovers”

In vinyl on Wednesday, 1 June, 2011 at 11:41


Song: Divorce Song
Artist: Liz Phair
Album: Exile In Guyville

Old Liz! It’d be too easy and uninteresting to rip into the admittedly commercial move she made (she once said something like “it’s nice to be liked, but it’s better, by far, to be paid”– hey, her choice) so I’ll just focus on the song. The only comparison I will make is how on the radio (it’s all around me at work, I can’t avoid it) they play the acoustic version of “Why Can’t I?”– of course, since stripped-down musically always translates to stripped-down emotionally (note: sarcasm) and oh, doesn’t that make it so plaintive and earnest.

And then you have early Liz, sung in a lower, more imperfect register. Personally, I find it sexier, and, more importantly, more confessional, in its almost spoken tone. There are so many clean, perfect voices that we miss out on the cracks and quavers that make voices unique and affecting rather than just pretty-sounding. I mean, where’s the humanity in blinding sheen and bombast? I’ll take vocal imperfection (still gotta be able to carry a tune, of course) over standardized vocals nine times out of ten (maybe seven or eight).

It’s not the same song, it’s “Supernova” off of Whip-smart, but look at how sweet she looks! (Oh, and yes, they had to censor her when she said “…you fuck like a volcano…”)

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