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Monday, March 08, 2004
I'm glad Simon at No Rock gave Liz a fair hearing, and while this was originally going to be a half-critical reaction post, upon rereading it I'm none-too-happy with bits of her quote either, although I suspect for different reasons. She said:

"When I'm at the gym and I hear my song come on and people are bopping around to it, I know what it means," Phair said. "I get it. And I take great pleasure in that. Whether they know it or not they've been infiltrated by a thinking, complicated human being. If you buy the record based on the single, I'm going to hit you with some complicated issues"

Simon criticizes the second half of that statement, and he's right to do so, even if he does so because he thinks the album isn't that great, which I disagree with. The "'I've made a pop single, but it'll bring people in to the album and then - ha! I shall pull of my mask of pop and reveal my true self' angle," as Simon puts it, is indeed a stupid one, as it's disrespectful to the whole idea of pop, which I thought Liz was cool with now. Still, I'm willing to grant her the benefit of the doubt and just assume that the months and months of (admittedly expected) criticism have sort of worn her down and made her a lot more defensive about her unhesitating embrace of pop on Liz Phair. You don't need to hit them with complicated issues, Liz--there's complicated issues enough in the pop, and the "complicated issues" songs ("Little Digger," I assume, maybe "HWC"?) aren't really any better or worse than the pop stuff. You could make the argument that the single will lead them to the back catalog, but really, it's irrelevant. Liz Phair is a good album. It's not as good lyrically as Guyville, but it's way better musically, and that's what we're here for, right?

But the first bit is tits. That must be a wonderful feeling, and I still don't see how anyone can really begrudge her that. I'm a sucker, but I still like it when Liz says these heretical kinda things...

The really weird thing, though, is that a lot of musicians I like have said the opposite, that they hear their music being played everywhere and they hate it. I just honestly can't understand that. Look, if you're going to put the effort into recording a CD and then get up on stage and dance around, you want people to pay attention to you, and so why when people do pay attention to you should you hate it? It's either an act or you have a self-esteem problem. Aren't you proud of it? Wouldn't you rather have people listening to your music than someone else's? Oh sure, you like other people's music, but don't you secretly believe yours is better? Or do you just not want those ignorant little people listening to your genius creation? It's insecurity, elitism, or naked self-interest--overexposure can, of course, hurt your career--and neither of 'em are good or honest. Sure, you might prefer things to be different, but don't you kinda like hearing a muzak version of your song at the mall? Or used in the promos for Monday Night Football? C'mon, kinda? A little? You don't want people dancing to it at junior high dances? If not, why not? Don't you realize that this is the biggest compliment anyone can ever give to your music?

Well, I guess I'm weird...