Liz Phair, riot grrl-ish icon, ruled the ’90s when her album Exit in Guyville was praised by angsty, empowered young women and critics alike. But the golden girl has come under scrutiny many many times since then, namely by being called a sell-out when she released some awful pop tunes in 2003, after pressure from Capitol to collaborate with songwriters who worked for Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne.
With the surprise (accidental?) release of her new album for download via her website, the saga continues.
On July 3, her website announced a surprise link to download a brand new album called Funstyle. The 11 songs were “experimental or at least unorthodox” and the album was available for purchase. But then a week later, she posted this note on her mess of a website in big white letters:
“You were never supposed to hear these songs. These songs lost me my management, my record deal and a lot of nights of sleep.
Yes, I rapped one of them. Im as surprised as you are. But here is the thing you need to know about these songs and the ones coming next: These are all me. Love them, or hate them, but dont mistake them for anything other than an entirely personal, un-tethered-from-the-machine, free for all view of the world, refracted through my own crazy lens.
This is my journey. I’ll keep sending you postcards.”
Okay Liz, and we’ll keep recycling them? She’s actually been off of ATO for a year, and stated that the management had changed and “the people who were still there didn’t like, or didn’t know, what to do with the music I was making, so we just stalled out and I asked to leave.” Maybe it’s because Pitchfork gave Funstyle a harrowing 2.6 out of 10, reporting that their staff’s immediate reaction to the album was “What is this shit?” (Yet somehow the new Robyn gets an 8.5? What gives?)
For all the invective spewed, at least Phair is back to writing her own material.