Wednesday, July 27, 2011
A song a day: Liz Phair - Shane
Exile in Guyville was a big record in my circles and many a roadtrip or Sunday afternoon lazing around the house with beers was spent with it as the soundtrack. Like many, I love that album intensely and I listen to my favourite tracks often (Mesmerizing and Stratford-On-Guy - that song makes me always pick seat 27D when I pick my plane seats). I had no intention of wanting Liz Phair to remake Exile over and over again but as each subsequent album came out, she lost me in her ambition to escape the shadow of her debut and gain mainstream success. I have friends who swear that the self titled album is a great pop record but the only thing I know about that was I was watching a trashy Jennifer Garner romcom one night and one of the songs from that album was on the soundtrack. Yeah, I downloaded the self released Funstyle album and it's as weird and as bad as you've heard.
Anyhow, my all time favourite song of hers is Shane from her second record Whipsmart (I think it was on the original Girlysound tapes too but I've never heard that version so I'm not sure if it's different). The song exudes a sexy dread that Phair amplified through Exile and also exemplifies her unique guitar style which is often overlooked. The song is a conversation with Shane (I'm guessing) about not getting into deep in a time of war:
You said that you were in touch with the draft resistors
In case the big boys called you up
You're gonna have to let 'em dick you around
But don't let 'em make you do what you can't live with
The final refrain "you've got to have fear in your heart", a poignant and weary mantra for a fucked up world, is repeated continuously as the static of the world drowns it out. Who knows what happened to Shane but it does't sound good.