|http://www.sina.com.cn 2005/05/20 17:57 国际在线|
Growing out of the American underground of the late '80s, Liz Phair fused rock production techniques and styles with the sensibility and structure of classic singer/songwriters. Exile in Guyville, Phair's debut album, was enthusiastically praised upon its 1993 release and spawned a rash of imitators, particularly American female singer/songwriters, over the following years. For her part, Phair wasn't able to break into the mainstream, even with the support of the press and MTV. Whip-Smart, her second album, was heavily promoted upon its 1994 release, yet despite its relatively strong chart positions, it was viewed as a disappointment and Phair's momentum declined steadily during the mid-'90s, as she took several years to record her third album.
Liz Phair was born in New Haven, CT, and adopted by wealthy parents, who raised her in the Chicago suburb Winnetka. After high school, she studied art at Oberlin College in Ohio. At Oberlin, she became fascinated with underground indie rock and eventually became friends with guitarist Chris Brokaw, who later joined Come. Following their college graduation, Phair and Brokaw moved to San Francisco, where she tried to become an artist.
Eventually, Brokaw moved out east and Phair moved back to Chicago, where she began writing songs. Soon, she began releasing homemade tapes of these songs under the name Girlysound. While she supported herself by selling her charcoal drawings on the streets of Wicker Park, she was becoming involved in various portions of the Chicago alternative music scene; in particular, she became friends with Urge Overkill, a drummer named Brad Wood, and John Henderson, the head of the Chicago-based indie label Feel Good All Over. Henderson and Phair tried to re-record some of the Girlysound tapes with Wood, yet the pair had a falling out during the sessions, leaving Wood as Phair's only collaborator. Brokaw, who had by then joined Come, was still receiving Girlysound tapes and he gave a copy to Gerard Cosley, the head of Come's record label, Matador. By the summer of 1992, Matador had signed Phair and she began recording her debut album in earnest.
Adapting its title from an Urge Overkill song, Exile in Guyville, her debut album, was released to strong reviews in the summer of 1993. Many articles focused on Phair's claim that the double album was structured as a response to the Rolling Stones' classic Exile on Main St. Over the course of the year, the record slowly built a dedicated following in America, both among critics and alternative rock fans. At the end of the year, it topped many Best of the Year critics polls, including The Village Voice and Spin. With all the attention focused on Phair, many indie rock figures -- particularly members of the Chicago noise rock scene such as Steve Albini -- were developing a resentment toward her and launching an attack at the singer and the heavy media attention Exile in Guyville received. The criticism couldn't halt the progress of Phair and Exile, and in early 1994 she launched her first tour, which was plagued by her stage fright. Around the same time, MTV began airing "Never Said" and, as a result of all the hype, the album briefly appeared in the charts in February. By the spring of 1994 it had sold over 200,000 copies -- a remarkable number for an independent release.
By that time, Phair had begun work on her follow-up record. Matador had signed a distribution deal with Atlantic Records in 1994, and her second album was going to be one of the first to be heavily promoted by the alliance. Indeed, Whip-Smart was released to a whirlwind of media attention -- including Phair, dressed only in negligee, on the cover of Rolling Stone -- and debuted at number 27 upon its fall 1994 release. "Supernova," the first single from the album, received heavy airplay on MTV and alternative rock radio, becoming a Top Ten modern rock hit. However, Whip-Smart received mediocre reviews and never developed into the hit that it was expected to be. Phair didn't tour to support the album and was slow to deliver a second single. By the time the title track was released as a single in the spring of 1995, the album had disappeared from the charts.
Liz Phair has been plenty busy in the four years since 'Whip-Smart,' during which time she's seen the creative and commercial climate for female artists flourish under her influence. The time between records allowed her to choose only the best from a wealth of material, as opposed to the more by-the-seat-of-her-pants attack of the previous two records. She still lives in her hometown of Chicago.
命运总是会青睐积极进取的人，一次偶然的机会，Phair遇见了Come乐队的吉他手Chris，两人在一起切磋了吉他的技巧，就在Phair返回Chicago之后，她用家用录音机录制了自己的歌曲小样并寄给了Chris，这盘歌曲小样在当时的独立音乐圈里十分流行。终于在1992年，Phair签约Matador唱片公司，随后在1993年出版了首张个人专辑Exile in Guyville。一方面由于唱片的名称和滚石乐队的专辑Exile on Main Street很相象，另一方面由于Phair采用了大量非传统性和弦，为这张专辑涂上了浓厚的非主流色彩，也是Phair最出色的一张唱片。到了1994年，这张专辑已经卖出了20万张，于是Phair的新东家Atlantic唱片公司找上门来，丰厚的条件使得Phair没有理由拒绝，那年的秋天，第二张专辑的首支单曲Supernova出版，随即成为多家媒体追捧的对象，但是当专辑Whip-Smart推出以后，Phair因为厌倦了和记者间的唇枪舌战而拒绝开展巡回演出为新唱片进行必要的宣传，在1995年的春天，这张专辑也渐渐地被人们淡忘了。
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