This review by Robert Loerzel originally appeared in Pioneer Press on September 29, 2005.
We want our old Liz back.
You know, that Liz Phair from Winnetka who shook up rock critics with her 1993 debut “Exile in Guyville.” It was frank, compelling and idiosyncratic.
We’re not sure who this new “Liz Phair” is, the one with an album coming out next Tuesday on Capitol Records. Granted, those cloning experts out in California did an excellent job. She looks exactly like the old Liz. Her voice sounds similar, if smoothed out a bit.
But this can’t be her. The music is just too generic. Yes, it’s hummable enough, and if you’re just looking for some nice pop ballads, this very well might be your record. But this diabolical simulacrum of the old Liz misses the point of her music entirely, ironing out all of the wrinkles and bleaching away all of the suspicious stains. The new product is as smooth as satin, lacking all of the bumps that made the old Liz’s music so imperfectly perfect.