Liz Phair's 'Exile In Guyville' Turns 20 Today

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 22, 2013 3:00PM

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Liz Phair's Exile In Guyville, the album that put Wicker Park on the national radar, turns 20 today. And it still holds up as an important, generation (moment) defining™ album. Let's take a walk through some of the songs on that album in celebration. Of course we have to kick off with the lead single whose video was shot in the Garfield Park Conservatory, "Never Said."

"Never Said" was by far the most "accessible" song on the album in regard to the tastes of commercial radio those days, but we always thought "Stratford-On-Guy" was a much more interesting song with its off percussion and melodies.

Of course what got the lion's share of the press' attention was Phair's straightforward stance on female sexuality. Apparently it was surprising that girls might curse and talk about sex without twittering or blushing. Phair doesn't blush a single time during this performance of "Fuck And Run" at the Matador Records 21st anniversary show.

"Divorce Song" got many a slacker 20-something through tough times because Phair's lyrics so perfectly captured the flood of turbulence that follows a break-up. If tapping into a universal experience with astounding clarity is the definition of a classic, then this song is certainly one. Here's Phair performing it for a crowd who are so caught up in the moment their voices often threaten to overtake hers.

The album's most polarizing song was "Flower," earning Phair reams of copy in everything from 'zines to international publications for being such a potty mouth. Again, it seems in 1993 some people just couldn't comprehend that women need not be delicate little flowers.

Rarely does an album so heavily touted as an instant classic upon its release actually stand the test of time, but Exile In Guyville hasn't aged a day, in our eyes. It truly is a timeless album and a stone cold classic.