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Exile in Guyville

186 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 22, 1993
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Audio, Cassette, June 1, 1993
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Liz Phair Exile In Guyville US CD album

Phair claimed that this album was a song-by-song answer to the Rolling Stones' Exile On Main St. While that's unlikely, it's an astonishing songwriting debut. Guyville got a lot of attention for its very frank sexuality, and though Phair knows how to shock, her real strength is lyrics that capture subtleties of extreme emotional states and interpersonal bargaining. Her voice isn't great, but all it has to do is ride the rails of her acutely observed, ingeniously melodic songs: "Divorce Song"'s laser-beam analysis of the moment when a marriage disintegrates, "Flower"'s coy lust, "Stratford-On-Guy"'s dizzying epiphany. She's also an inventive guitarist, and her arrangements--featuring coproducer Brad Wood--keep the album fresh and varied. --Douglas Wolk

1. 6'1'
2. Help Me Mary
3. Glory
4. Dance Of The Seven Veils
5. Never Said
6. Soap Star Joe
7. Explain It To Me
8. Canary
9. Mesmerizing
10. Fuck And Run
11. Girls! Girls! Girls!
12. Divorce Song
13. Shatter
14. Flower
15. Johnny Sunshine
16. Gunshy
17. Stratford-On-Guy
18. Strange Loop

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 22, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Matador
  • ASIN: B0000036RP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,625 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By JRL on June 24, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I never thought Dave Matthews would do something I'd care about, but he did! He signed Liz Phair recently to the ATO Records label that he's co-owner of, and re-released her "classic" debut Exile In Guyville.

This is a slightly odd choice, though. Firstly, why re-master an album that relies so heavily on its imperfect and raw sound? The 3 bonus tracks here are pretty useless. "Say You" is a reggae cover and is, to me, unlistenable, but nice to know they were messin around in the studio. "Ant In Alaska" is a song that fans of the Girlysound tapes will be familiar with. This is NOT the same version. It is cleaner, & it's nice to hear an unreleased studio version. But it is not one of Phair's best songs, and this take offers no real new insight. I thought the other track called "Instrumental" would be a little more interesting, yet it pales next to much of the guitar work that's IN Phair's first 2 albums. So again, this track is unnecessary filler.

FYI: The extra songs are not B-sides, as noted on the sleeve. In my opinion, they should be regarded as Outtakes.

Thankfully EIG is dense with 18 great songs, so there's no need to look for unearthed material to flesh out the picture. The album says more than enough on its own.

Another bonus with this re-issue is the companion DVD. It's well over an hour long, and features interviews with members of Urge Overkill, John Cusack, Dave Matthews(again), Steve Albini, Brad Wood and many other interesting people who helped Phair's career take off. The DVD is recorded in a low-budget way, making some dialogue hard to hear, but it's worth seeing if you're interested in what Phair was like at the time she made this album.

And as for Exile In Guyville re-mastered and all? Well, I'm unsure if the mastering brings any added qualities to the songs, but it's a pleasant, albeit unnecessary, excuse to revisit a brilliant album.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Gregory M. Wasson on July 8, 2008
Format: Audio CD
"Exile in Guyville," released in 1993 on Matador records, is an excellent, groundbreaking album. It is early `90's rock `n roll at it's best, with a fresh, new sound, both quirky and powerful, exploring the timeless problems of love and life with freedom and daring. It is solid rock `n roll, anchored securely in the guitars, rhythm, bass and drums tradition going back to Elvis. But against the crunching guitar chords and tougher than tough rhythm sections, the melodies are often odd and chromatic. Phair sings with confessional honesty about self-doubt, sexuality, power, and the contradictions, disappointments and compromises inherent in life. Nothing is off limits, nothing is too intimate or personal. The only requirement seems to be that the songs be honest and unflinching, and that they succeed as music. "Guyville" hits the bullseye on both counts.

In "Canary," Phair sings about an alienated housewife who "follows all the rules" - "I come when called, I come that's all." But in "Exile" the housewife doesn't just complain, she sets the house on fire. In "Help Me Mary" Liz dreams of revenge against her abusively snide male roommates. In "F--k and Run" she's not afraid to sing "I want a boyfriend...I want a guy who makes love `cause he's in it" as another one-night stand walks out the door. Phair takes full advantage of the freedom women had by the `90's to make music as interesting as they themselves were. Gender was no longer a limitation on the range of their artistic expression. Just like the boys.

"Exile in Guyville" was a great album when it came out in 1993. It still is a great album in 2008. Liz Phair would go on to make other good records, but never again would she achieve the combination of audacity, energy, and no holds barred song writing that she demonstrated in her first album. If you don't have it, you should get it . You won't regret it.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Michael Sean on March 1, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Since its release, this CD remains as a one of the musical milestones from the 1990s. It topped the lists of many critics, propelled Matador Records further into the big time, and helped open the door for Alanis, Fiona, Meredith Brooks and a hundred other female artists to follow. With a title adapted from an Urge Overkill song ("Goodbye to Guyville" from their 'Stull" EP), this impressive debut was supposedly structured as her song-by-song response to the Rolling Stones' "Exile On Main Street" album. Brad Wood's subtle production brings her sound out of the bedroom without sacrificing the intimacy and honesty of her "Girlysound" days. Several of those songs get updated, including the explicit "F&@k and Run" and "Flower." Pottymouth lyrics aside, the songwriting is outstanding and her quirky guitar riffs perfectly compliment her dry singing style. The subject matter is much more blunt than her later work (where her perspective was changed by marriage and motherhood), and the instrumentation has a stripped-down feel. For those just discovering this album, the freshness of the material will no doubt suffer a bit in the wake of Lilith Fair and the media's "Women In Music" saturation, but it's still superior to a lot of what came after it. Highly recommended.
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44 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Beau Yarbrough VINE VOICE on November 22, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There are few truly rivetting albums out there, and few artists capable of demanding my attention on first listen. Liz Phair, on her debut album, "Exile in Guyville," is one of that rare breed.
I originally sought out this album after reading Rolling Stone's rave review of the album, but was dubious that she could really live up to the hype. I listened, spellbound, the first time through. Then played the CD again. I've worn out mix tapes of her albums, bought multiple versions of her latest CD and built my own little Web shrine to Liz ....
Liz's musicianship on this effort is sometimes uneven, her vocal performance hardly revolutionary but her writing ... such songs.
Her songs touch the heart, engage the mind and stimulate the ... well, she's gotten a reputation as a pottymouth girl, although she's much, much more. "Divorce Song" rips out your heart and stomps on it with the brutal honesty of how breakups truly feel, "Soap Star Joe" casts a dubious eye at the sensitive dudes who cruise the single scene (not that I was EVER one ... ahem) and, quite frankly, Liz still remembers how to rock.
I have not before or since encountered an artist who was able to capture the pain, anxiety and hopefulness of post-collegiate singlehood as Liz did, and "Exile in Guyville" remains one of my perennial favorites.
A must-listen for fans of singer-songwriters, rock and roll or women in music. Liz Phair's "Exile in Guyville" is simply one of the all time great rock albums.
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Vinyl version?
Mine came with the cd and with the 7" (from caiman outlet)!
Oct 13, 2008 by schelti |  See all 3 posts
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