One of the saddest things in the universe of music – to me, at least – is looking at Liz Phair’s discography as the ultimate case study for diminishing returns. Blaze a trail with the debut, you might never have asked to be a pioneer but the spirit and spit and snarl of those songs from a quarter-century ago felt like a real fuck-you to a boys club. I just liked the songs. Really great songs. And it flowed on over to the next record – and I used to be very charitable and say the one after that was okay too. But nah, really it was those first two.
And since then we’ve just had banal rubbish. Weird attempts at being a pop singer without ever fully committing, without any real hooks to the songs and with the most pedestrian arrangements.
Well, this new album might be the very nadir. Because it welcomes back the producer from those first two records (Brad Wood) – so you get your hopes up. Just a touch.
And there’s absolutely nothing here worth hearing. Many of these songs feel like they’d play in the background of an episode of Friends – and not a reboot; I mean those cringey old episodes that were first recorded around the time The Real Liz Phair was making real music to really dig.
It’s horrifying even bothering.
Which is why this review is barely even doing that.
What’s the fucking point? This is slow-death tragedy. And I hate it. I hate that I’m invested enough to keep checking in, fingers crossed, waiting. Hoping for the curse to break. But it’s just not going to happen. This is dead-duck music. The goose is cooked.