As far as debut albums go Liz Phair’s 1993 classic, Exile in Guyville is at the top of many ‘best-of’ lists from Pitchfork to SPIN even today. For me it’s one of those albums that I got into pretty late. Which makes sense because on it’s release I was 10. I think it was somewhere around my late 20s that I discovered this raw and emotion filled album that totally filled the void at the time.
It seems I’m not the only one this album touched on a deep level. Even now 25 years later Exile in Guyville still holds up to the current . I fully absorbed this album shortly after I moved to California. It was one of the quarter life crisis times that I was going through and when nothing seemed to be going right and thankfully this album blew into my life.
Starting with ‘6’1′, Phair paints a particular visual scene in her own vocal style of a melodic monotone croon. This is something that was so refreshing to hear. The vibes of a coffee shop with raw and honest lyrics by a woman just bleeding throughout the songs. The theme of the album is about the characteristics of guys we all know and maybe even are dating now. The annoying habits, warnings and even self affirmations.
‘Dance of the Seven Veils’ is one of the standouts on the album, a cheeky song and 90s feminist anthem. This is followed by her popular single, ‘Never Said’. Still keeping that signature irreverent style but with a more power pop anthem structure. My personal favorite songs are “Fuck and Run”, “Soap Star Joe”, and “Johnny Sunshine”.
The album never strays from the formula that works so well for a wide eyed debut record in 1993.