Liz Phair

Fuck and Run

Composed by Liz Phair

Song Review by

Anyone who's harbored the secret, guilty thought that sexual freedom isn't all it's cracked up to be is likely to identify with "Fuck and Run," the song that became Liz Phair's calling card as the voice of young, disillusioned womanhood. As is often the case with Phair's work, casual listeners seized on the song's four-letter words and sexual frankness, missing the loneliness at its heart. The story of an awkward morning after, "Fuck and Run" is positively old-fashioned in its way -- witness the "What ever happened to a boyfriend?" refrain and the narrator's longing for things like "letters and sodas." What makes it new is Phair's self-consciousness about those yearnings; even as she wishes for the trappings of romance, she deflates them as "stupid old shit." In fact, the dominant tone of "Fuck and Run" is its diffidence, from the low-key jangle of the melody to the unstudied, can't-be-bothered quality of Phair's singing. This is not Joan Osborne raving gleefully about sex with her "Right Hand Man" or Alanis Morrisette lashing out at an ex, to cite two of Phair's contemporaries. This is just a vaguely disappointed woman who slept with someone and knows he won't be sending flowers. Whether the encounter was even enjoyable in and of itself is left unclear -- even at her most graphic, Phair keeps something in reserve. Only a slight uptick of urgency in her voice as she sings "I can feel it in my bones/I'm gonna spend my whole life alone" betrays the sadness behind the shrug. For obvious marketing reasons, "Fuck and Run" was not the Exile in Guyville single, but it was the track that got people talking about Liz Phair, and it's the perfect embodiment of her tug of war between freedom and safety.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Exile in Guyville 1993 ATO 3:07
No Image 1993 Minty Fresh 3:08
Random Acts 2 1995
Various Artists
Sell out records 3:37
Secretly Timid 1998 Empire
No Image 2003 Capitol 3:08
blue highlight denotes editor's pick